Continuing with Day 6 of excerpts from my February 2000 Jubilee year Holy Land pilgrimage journal.
Day 6 – Sunday, 2/20/2000 – Old Jerusalem/Wailing Wall/Holocaust Museum/Ein Karem
Our day started with a visit to the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall. Shoeless, we visit Al-Asqa, the Dome of the Rock. At the Wailing Wall, I am able to place a small paper with my prayer petitions. We visit the Dormition Abbey, the place of Mary’s “falling asleep,” which is a beautiful church. The other Peter’s Way group from New York was also there and we all sang Ave Mariatogether. Afterwards, we go to the Franciscan Church of the Cenacle to hold our Mass. I do the first reading here also. It is located near the traditional site of the Upper Room.
After lunch, we visit the Holocaust Museum and this is my most emotional point of the day. We visit the Children’s Memorial in memory of the children who died. In the History Museum, they have many relics of the victims on display. I paused before a case contain a young girl’s suitcase, coat, and glasses. I can’t take any more and hurry to the exit thinking I will never find it. This epitomizes my inability to understand God. I think about this all the way to Ein Karem where we visit the hometown of John the Baptist. It is the place of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth at the Church of the Visitation.
I still get emotional when I recall and reflect on my visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. There was a school group on an educational guided tour during our visit. They were young but of age to be wearing military fatigues and carry a rifle. I couldn’t understand what they were being told but I didn’t really need to in order to have an idea. It is inconceivable that anyone can deny the horrors happened. The case with the young girl’s items was over half way through the museum. I’d seen two thirds of the exhibits when I quickened my pace. I was crying. The closest I can come in my own genealogy is my Native American Cherokee ancestors who were unceremoniously removed from Georgia — the Trail of Tears.
The web site for Yad Vashem includes photo exhibitions. Make your own virtual visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. This link will take you to the history museum 2 minute video. [I viewed them fine without installing Hebrew language] We traveled a short distance to Ein Karem, the place of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth. It is a peaceful place suited to the somber mood in which I’d left Yad Vashem.