Saturday, September 22, 2012

Israel's Museums

We visited two incredible museums in Israel (and unlike many of the museums that we have visited, these are worthy of a blog post!).

The Israel Museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The scrolls are the oldest biblical manuscripts ever found, dating back as far as the 2nd century BC.  They were discovered in 1946 by a Bedouin in several caves near the Dead Sea.  Before they were found, the oldest biblical manuscripts that were known to exist dated back to the 10th century AD.  The Dead Sea Scrolls are over 1,000 years older!

Among the scrolls are at least portions of every book in the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther.  Also found were apocryphal manuscripts that were not canonized in the Bible along with quite a few sectarian manuscripts.  Here is the Shrine of the Book where the scrolls were on display.  The building is shaped like the tops of the clay pots that held the scrolls when they were found.

The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum with the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in the background to the right

Yad Vashem is Israel's poignant memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  It does a wonderful job telling the story of the Holocaust and memorializing its victims.  A visit to Yad Vashem is a walk through a terrible period of history and provides great insight to the reasons behind the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.  Our visit to Israel really wouldn't have been complete without coming here.

Inside the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem

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