No trip to Jerusalem is complete without visiting the newly expanded, redesigned and impactful Yad Vashem. It was built to keep alive the memories of the atrocities of the Holocaust and to ensure that no one ever forgets!
The museum has so many vividly graphic exhibit rooms, one after another, that children under 10 are not allowed to visit. My son Josh and his wife Tracey took their little ones to the nearby zoo, while the rest of us experienced the museum of remembrance.
Ending our powerful visit there was another moving ceremony experience, as my Bar Mitzvah boy, Blake, was given a certificate commemorating a child of his age who died in the Holocaust. It was meant for Blake to remember and perpetuate the lost child’s life, called the Yad Vashem Twinning Project. An unexpected moment for all of us and, for Blake, something to take away on many levels.
We reunited with the rest of the family and made our way to the Mahane Yehuda Market, a bustling place where narrow aisles were jam packed with people. It was Friday, Shabbos, the beginning of the sabbath, and people had come from all over the city to get the freshest fish, fruit, cakes and spices. There are cafes and shops sprinkled along the multiple, crammed alleyways.
The energy of the market reminded me of my visit decades ago, where a bomb was ignited the day after my visit. Machine gun-carrying soldiers had been seen everywhere. Now, we rarely saw a gun-packing soldier, and we felt very safe.
Our guide Gil took us to an overflowing bakery stand to eat what he described as the best rugelach in the world. It was still warm, fresh from the oven, delectable. He was so right.
Another delicacy he said was a “must-taste” was at a tiny, shoebox-size booth filled with shelves overflowing with halvah of all flavors, which I sampled it again and again. My favorite was the chocolate covered one.
Walking down the crammed aisles, the heat was overwhelming, reaching over 100 degrees. I wished I could have stayed longer to continue to explore the endless aisles overflowing with food and merchandise, and multiple musicians entertaining the throngs of shoppers.
But back to the Herbert Samuel Hotel, located near the vibrant streets of the Nahalat Shiva neighborhood, where there are shops, cafes and, in the evening, street musicians. All I wanted, though, was a cool shower, and it was never so sweet!
More next week!