Israel’s Museums

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Israel’s Museums

Israel’s Museums are by far the best archaeological discovery in the world! I cannot say enough. We will spend the entire day at it and you can walk to and from several so you can spend as little or as much time as you want in each. We are going to the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book, The Holy Land Model of Jerusalem, the Holocaust Museum and the Menorah at the Knesset Building.

My favorite, the Israel Museum  houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day. Highlights on view include: Pilate Stone, “House of David” inscription (9th century BCE), A comparative display of two shrines (8th–7th century BCE), The Heliodorus  Stele (178 BCE), Royal Herodian  bathhouse (1st century BCE), Hadrian’s Triumph: Inscription from a triumphal arch (136 CE), Gold-glass bases from the Roman Catacombs (4th century CE). I have mentioned some of these to you and will mention more as we go through the trip.  The archaeological wing is extensive. Artifacts from prehistory to the Ottoman period are organized chronologically, and the display includes everything from the horns of a gigantic, now-extinct bull to statuary of the highest quality from the artistic apogees of ancient Greece and Rome. There is just too much to tell you about. I will spend  most of my time there. 

Among the highlights of the Museum’s original campus is the Shrine of the Book, designed which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts. Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE, and provides historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I have seen the Dead Sea Scrolls (only a small piece) so I am very excited to get to go to the Shrine of the Book.  As the fragility of the scrolls makes it impossible to display all on a continuous basis, a system of rotation is used. After a scroll has been exhibited for 3–6 months, it is removed from its showcase and placed temporarily in a special storeroom, where it “rests” from exposure. The shrine houses the Isaiah scroll, dating from the second century BCE, the most intact of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Aleppo Codex dating from the 10th century CE, the oldest existing Hebrew Bible. I am also equally as excited about this treat.

We have not seen the Holy Land Model of Jerusalem either, only a small replica so this will be awesome also. I especially set aside for us to have a day for these three sights. I was so disappointed when I came home and found out we did not see these last time. It is a 1:50 scale:model of the city of Jerusalem in the late Second Temple Period. The model was moved from its original location at the Holyland Hotel in to a new site at the Israel Museum in June 2006.

Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. After the Western Wall, Yad Vashem is the second most-visited Israeli tourist site. Its curators charge no fee for admission and welcome approximately one million visitors a year. A core goal of Yad Vashem’s founders was to recognize gentiles who, at personal risk and without a financial or evangelistic motive, chose to save their Jewish brethren from the ongoing genocide during the Holocaust. It is quite impressive and takes a lot of time to see extensively. I think this is more of a special place for Jewish heritage visitors but for some reason, this is a must do and ALL tour guides require you to go to this. It is worth seeing though.

The Knesset Menorah is interesting but again, it is of a lot more important to someone of Jewish heritage. It is an amazing work of art and tells the story the Jewish people in such detail it is  phenomenal. If you want to read about if before we go, it may help. Just click on the link at the beginning of the sentence.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem