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Jerusalem Commemorative Stone inaugurated

The Jerusalem Commemorative Stone was inaugurated in Bensheim-Hochstädten on the 21st of October 2012 at 15:00 as a part of the peace memorial concept. Members of the Odenwald hiking club brought the Protestant pastor Christoph Mohr from a sermon in remembrance of the dead, held at Teufelsstein, to the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone, which was within a short walking distance, where they then joined the other visitors in a celebration of life. Numerous guests had already arrived and were waiting. The area was shrouded in mist that lingered gently over the landscape. Gesine Habermann and Christian Treumann were dancing on stilts in angel-like costumes to "Borchi Nafshi Et HaShem" (blessed be God, my soul) by Shlomo Carlebach, in the outer ring of the 26 m wide peace memorial on site.

The dark side of the Jerusalem memorial stone, which faces a former labour camp used for producing armaments during the Second World War, was inaugurated with a bouquet of flowers, placed before the inscription “Where Dust turns into Light” and an address by the initiator of the project, Thomas Zieringer. Respecting our history is one side of the story. The other side is the future, which we shape in accordance with the way we lead our lives in the present day and age. And for this reason we must endeavour to provide a positive contribution, so that the dark history remains just that: history. Zieringer made clear that, as an artist, his intention was to create an atmosphere in which the visitors are given the feeling that they are personally addressed. Every single individual should be placed in a position to recognise the war he or she recognizes within our society, is this dark side of the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone.

The inscription “Where Dust turns into Light” draws attention to the peace memorial, which was erected on his own initiative and which is dedicated to inner peace. It shows the "Tree of Life", which breaks through the one dark ring, representing an alienated intellect, and which is framed by a dance floor for the “Dance of Life”. The peace memorial serves as a bridge toward the light side of the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone. The visitors now go toward the peace memorial, which is located a few meters away, into the “Crown of the Tree of Life”. From there – under the sign of the peace rose, in the centre of the memorial, the young musician Clemens Limp consecrated the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone with the melody "Jerushalayim Shel Zahav - Jerusalem of Gold", which he played by violin, in utter surrounding silence. Thereafter, all involved persons returned to the other side of the Commemorative Stone. Here the following can be read: "Yerushalayim (Hebraic for Jerusalem, i.e. the City of Peace) – that we succeed in overcoming the inner fences in our dealings with one another and do not seek to find our inner stability behind fences of ideology ".

Thomas Zieringer read a short word of welcome by the Frankfurt rabbi Steiman: "Jerusalem is everywhere where beauty is to be found ". Then the skies opened, the shrouds of mist vanished and the sun broke through the clouds, bathing the entire landscape in a golden light. After the speech by the city councillor, Oliver Roeder, district councillor, Kurt Knapp, who represented the Bergstraße district, and Markus van Kempen, for the local advisory council Hochstädten, Pastor Christoph Mohr used vivid words to explain what Jerusalem means to him. It is the vision of a world in which people can experience their personal relationship to God and where churches no longer require fixed locations, because peace lives within the hearts of people. Thereafter the open event commenced; a celebration of life, of joy, of interaction with one another, and of beauty, because this is what Yerushalayim means.

The stilts dancers moved rhythmically in front of the Jerusalem Commemorative Stone, dancing to a melody by Shlomo Carlebach. Some time later, a number of visitors spontaneously started playing music on their instruments. One could also hear peace music dating back to the Hippie days. After the celebration, one visitor was so touched that he walked around the memorial, going in circles, playing Hinne Ma Tov Uma Na'im (how wonderful it is when brothers live peacefully together) on his saxophone. By now the skies had cleared completely and were radiantly blue. The sun was shining down and spread pleasant warmth, despite the autumn temperatures. This was the second inauguration of the peace memorial. The first was on the 17th of May 2012. There the theme was raised: man between heaven and earth. The second took place on 21. 10. 2012. It was dedicated to the confrontation with discord and the hope of peace of Yerushalayim. With the 3rd celebration, which stands for integration, the whole memorial site will be inaugurated on the 9th of May 2013. For more information and a film on the inauguration, please visit:

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