On the last day of our pilgrimage, we visited the Israel Museum where there is a replica of Jerusalem in 66 CE. The highest point, the Temple Mount, encloses the second Temple, where the Dome of the Rock now stands. Approximately 100,000 people lived in Jerusalem at this time. The significance of 66 CE is this was Jerusalem at its peak, just before all was lost in the Great Revolt against the Romans. The museum also houses some of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Shrine of the Book. The scrolls were found in jars in the caves of Qumran, which we had visited on Day 6. The Dead Sea Scrolls include the oldest copies of the books of the Old Testament, with the complete Book of Isaiah. The white dome represents the lids that covered the jars. The water on the dome represents purity.
Mid-day we visited the Holocaust History Museum. We started in the Valley of the Communities, with a Jewish Cantor who lead us in prayer. The valley was built over 10 years and from the air is a map of Europe. The significance of the Babi Yar rock is this is the place where more Jewish lives were lost in 2 days than any other time during the war. The museum walks you through the chronological concentration of Jews by country, the ghettos and the work camps. There are many personal accounts captured in videos. Very powerful, very moving. Not many photos, as inside the museum no photography is allow.
There are two potential Golgothas in Jerusalem. One is at Station 12 in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the other is at the Garden Tomb. We ended our pilgrimage at the Garden Tomb. Golgotha is the place of the skull and you can see from the picture how these caves truly look like a skull. We finished with a Eucharist in the garden. The homily was a reflection by each pilgrim of what will make this journey so memorable.
We also captured one last cat family. On our way out we said goodbye to our driver Eliko and our inspirational and knowledgeable guide, Jacob. We will always remember Jacob’s rules, OK sometimes they weren’t Jacob’s rules, he was just the messenger!