While away from London in Jerusalem, for the third time in my life of twenty one years, I went to stroll through Yad Vashem, the extraordinary Holocaust Museum that sits unforgettably over Jerusalem. It lies next to the shade-swathed graveyard where Herzl and the other defenders of the Jewish people are buried.
I came across a quotation at which I stared for a while. It is not particularly poetic or eloquent, but its resonance was imprinted upon my memory. Written by Rabbi Yitzhak Nissenbaum, in the early months of the Warsaw ghetto, it states: “Before, our enemies demanded our soul, and the Jew sacrificed his body in sanctifying God's Name; Now the enemy demands the Jewish body and the Jew must defend himself and his life.”
The quote empitomized individualism and the will to survive.
At Yad Vashem, you are treated at intervals to a bright light at the end of the museum's tunnel. As the museum's narrative develops, the War and Holocaust ends, and the state of Israel is created. We finally then burst out of the museum, into the light. There...More >>