Monday, September 27, 2010

More on Mount Herzl

Come in.
Let's walk around and sit and absorb the peace and silence and sense of reverence that enfold the cemetery on a normal day.

(A strange choice for That's My World, you think?)
The metal gates of Mt. Herzl military cemetery are like the gates at the Knesset and Yad Vashem.
The stones of the entrance were brought from all parts of Israel to express the idea that all remember and appreciate the soldiers buried here in Jerusalem.
These are just some of the moving places on Mt. Herzl.
Let's sit low on the stone bench and unite with those whose memory lives on here.
The soldiers' graves are in small groupings to express the idea that in one way their sacrifice was individual.
The cemetery has an east-west orientation to follow the practice of burying Jewish dead with their feet pointing in the direction of Jerusalem's ancient Temple.
Jerusalem's military cemetery together with Yad Vashem and Mt. Herzl the national burial place for Israel's leaders make up Har HaZikaron, the Mount of Remembrance.
The site encapsulates the last century of Jewish national history.
The large number of casualties in the War of Independence, 6,000 (1% of the Jewish population at the time), made the need for a new cemetery obvious.
The first remains were transferred here in 1949 from temporary burial grounds.
Just beyond, you can see the hills where battles were fought in the various wars.
So close . . .
These clusters of shaded benches are near the exit.
I imagine people who have just attended a funeral or a memorial service might like to linger and talk together before going out to the bustling world.
Right next to the exit gate is this corner for the seudat avelim, the meal for the bereaved, that follows a funeral.
If you'd like to see more, please click on the label "Mt. Herzl."


B SQUARED said...

Unfortunately, this area must get used far too often.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Beautifully designed grounds. Native rock I imagine. Is those Ceders of Lebanon? I imagine they grow in Israel too. I have a book on LA trees and two C of L are listed. I've always wanted to visit one.

Also intrigued by the appearance of a bed and pillow in jewish cemeteries. How the graves are slightly raised. The same thing at the East Los Angeles cemetery. Thats where are Jewish big shots (from the past) are buried. I'm thinking specifically of the film industry makers; Jack Warner etc

Dina said...

B Squared, shalom. Yes, even one time is too often.

PA, thanks for sharing your impressions and the added info.
About the design, I read this in the Yad Ben-Zvi guidebook:

The military cemetery and most of the monuments were planned by Asher Hiram.

For the side of Mt. Herzl for the national leaders, "63 entries were submitted in the competition for the design of the national pantheon. Joseph Klarwein's proposal was chosen, and the site was accordingly laid out in 1951."
. . .
"On our way to the 'Section of the State's Leaders' note the type of landscaping in this area. Although trees are not usually planted in Jewish cemeteries, they were chosen here in order to provide the site with an evergreen fringe. The selection of the types of trees was not incidental. Coniferous trees symbolize eternity, continuity, and renewal. The cypress, shaped like a candle flame, recalls commemoration and mourning, while the CEDAR expresses strength and determination."

Sara said...

That is indeed a beautiful and peaceful place, and very interesting to read your comment here about the symbolism of the trees chosen for the site. To see the hills so close where battles were fought is very...I don't know what word...sobering, moving, thought-provoking, it gives one pause....the contrast is startling.

JM said...

It looks like a beautiful and peaceful place. I love the entrance!

Kay said...

This is such a beautiful and peaceful place, Dina. Comforting, too...

Rambling Round said...

Lovely, and how thoughtful to have a place to sit awhile.

Roberto M. Alves said...

Very interesting post with many informations.


Mama Zen said...

Amazing pictures!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...


VP said...

I was awed by that place and I am still awed, many years after, by these beautiful images.
I hope it wouldn't be disrespectful of this place if I use some of these benches you have found there.

Hels said...

My parents in law, who lived in Czechoslovakia for 35 years, then moved to Australia for 45 years, now rest in peace in Jerusalem. The cemetery has a particular pine-ish smell that I love, a tree I never see here in Australia.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Next time I'll try proofreading before I hit submit.

They didn't mention "Lebanon" so I guess it's not that kind of tree (unless that omission is politically motivated). In your third photo where the viewer looks down on the buried, it looks like a series of beds and pillows. Same as the jewish cemetery in East LA. Do you know the symbolism behind that?

Leif Hagen said...

A very different look from the cemeteries around here! Fun to compare and see the differences.

Petrea said...

It is beautiful and sad. I can't see a military cemetery without thinking that we humans are still so primitive. I wonder if more advanced creatures watch us from somewhere, thinking how silly and misguided we are, to waste our children this way.

VioletSky said...

I always enjoy your posts reflecting all the symbolism that is included in everything that is built in Israel. Therre doesn't seem to be as much attention paid to those details over here (that I know of anyway).

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

Certainly very different from where I live. Wonderful sharing and I'd love to follow your blog.

Virginia said...

I agree with B2. This is a lovely resting place for your fallen soldiers. What is the green on the raised plots? It doesn't look like grass. Very unusual but beautiful.

Dina said...

Thanks, all, for your so nice comments.

VP, the benches would be honored to be on your

Hels, I'm glad your parents z"l made it home. You don't have pines? A pity. You remind me of 1968 when I was in kibbutz ulpan. A telegram arrived that my mother had died in Chicago. I went up the hill to the forest and the wind in the tall pine trees seemed to be crying with me.

PA, are cedars of Lebanon just bigger than cedars? I don't know the difference, if there is one.
I never thought of the tombs as looking like beds and pillows. I don't know of any symbolism in that. Not all Jewish graves look like that. But the military graves are all uniform.

I'll have to do a cemetery series.

Petrea, apropos "more advanced creatures," did you in America hear about this? --

Dina said...

Wong Ching Wah from Malaysia, shalom and welcome.

Virginia, it's some kind of hardy plant on the graves. I looked back at my photos from April-May and found some of those plants flowering.
There are water spigots in all the sections of the cemetery for families who want to do their own watering.

Lew said...

A very fitting subject for our World, especially in these times of strife and suffering. This is a moving post honoring Israel's soldiers. I believe that the way we bury the dead says a lot about how we honor their lives.

Petrea said...

Dina, I love that!

Jew Wishes said...

What lovely grounds, lovely photos, each so poignant in its own way.

The information regarding it is quite interesting. Thank you.