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Report about Lag baOmer 2014 at the Jerusalem Peace Memorial in Bensheim

Peace arrives

At the Jerualem Peace Memorial in the Hessentag-town Bensheim last Sunday the Jewish festival Lag BaOme was celebrated for the first time. It is a feast in the great outdoors. The Jerusalem Peace Memorial is located entirely in nature in the Geopark Bergstra├če-Odenwald at the European Hiking trail. With perfect weather the Chabad Jewish community from Karlsruhe met there with citizens of the city of Bensheim. The encounter was focused on the theme: peace arrives. The Jerusalem Peace Monument makes with its atmosphere and symbolism steps into a new relationship possible. It represents what is to live out of a dark German past for the present: it is dedicated to the dignity and freedom of man and it is a commitment from the German side to a Jewish root of our Western culture.

At 11:30 the 50 Jewish guests from Karlsruhe were received at the entrance of the Bensheim district Hochstädten in the valley. The way up on the hill to the Peace Memorial led across a site on which there was a subcamp of the concentration camp Natzweiler Struthof in WW2. Thus, the past was also still present here, as in many places in Germany. It was a short walk of 30 minutes. Ariving at the Jerusalem Peace Memorial, the initiator and architect of the memorial site Thomas Zieringer led the guests through the symbolism of the design. The starting point was the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone. It has a side of pain with the call: „Where dust is transformed into light” and a side of hope with a cry of new life: Yerushalayim! The rabbi of the Jewish Chabad community, Mordechai Mendelson, pointed out in a speech at the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone, that such necessary places can only be created with a lot of idealism and a freedom of material thinking. As a thank you for the efforts of the volunteers of the Peace Association, he handed the initiator of the project, a sculpture made of silver, which represents the city of Jerusalem.

The visitors then walked together in the 26-meter monument circle above a threshold on which is written: "Recognize the Holy in your midst". As different as the people in the world are, so they can find one thing in common in the dignity that deserves every human being. Going through the Peace is concluded in the center of the monument circle in the Tree of Life. There, visitors will find a Star of David, which is lying on a „White Rose”.

The good spirit of this place of peace was observed in many details. So the Jewish visitors had brought kosher food with them for their picnic and other visitors had their picnic with foods that were not kosher. And yet it did not separate the people who were joint for the joy. The children played together at the Peace Memorial, unaffected whether they were Jews or even old citizens or new residents in the village. At 3 clock noon rabbi Mordechai Mendelson and his congregation said good bye to the hosts in Bensheim-Hochstädten. The journey of the Jewish visitors went on to Michelstadt. There once lived Rabbi Seckel Loeb Wormser, who was a great scholar; a Baal Shem. It is reminiscent of a rich Jewish life in Germany.

After saying goodbye it became quiet again at the Jerusalem Peace Memorial at the European Hiking Trail. But only for a short time. Many hiking groups would make that day a rest at this place of peace and encounter in nature.

Link back to Website: Lag baOmer