Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Israel 2014 Day 3: Yad Vashem and Mahane Yehuda Market

6/15/2014
Israel 2014 Day 3: Yad Vashem and Mahane Yehuda Market

This morning started off gloriously after a full 8hr sleep. After so many big trips this year, we're starting to get the hang of shaking jet-lag as soon as possible! We started with a nice breakfast, which was somewhat similar to our lunch from yesterday. I asked Michal if this was usual, and she said it was -- dinner is the biggest meal, and "salads" you would have at lunch, you'd likely also have at breakfast. We had some of that great cucumber/tomato salad, along with the excellent feta again. So good. The big change from lunch was that we also had egg and coffee.

Michal's Uncle sorted out getting a SIM card for my iPhone which was super helpful, and would allow us to use GPS throughout the trip. To pick up the card, our instructions were very straightforward: "drive down the street, and find the guy in the Yarmulke". :) We did in fact find this guy, and got the SIM card. I, quite foolishly, was excited to get it hooked up so we could have GPS instantly, and tried to install it while Michal was backing up the car. We almost hit a religious fellow, and as expected, I also dropped the miniscule SIM card somewhere into the car. Haha. We carefully found it, and I installed it when we had come to a complete stop, which was much more successful. Hooray for GPS! Waze has a useful option to simplify the driving in Israel which you can select called "Only use roads under Israeli Authority", which you can turn on. (As I learned, Waze is actually from Israel, so that's why it has that option). Google Maps didn't have that feature, so we stuck with Waze for the trip.

Up we go, to Jerusalem!
Awesome bridge
Oh look, my Hebrew name is a street!
"Shalom"
And off we go! We drove an hour or so from Ra'anana "up to" Jerusalem. Jerusalem is up on a hill, so the phrase they use is you are making "Aliyah" or "going up" to Jerusalem. It was quite hilly and there was a railroad construction in progress as we drove. You know the "Red Cross", right? Well, we saw a building for the Israel equivalent, the "Red Star of David!" (Magen David Adom) Funny. As we got closer to Jerusalem, the style of the city started to come into focus, with the "Jerusalem Stone" used everywhere to build and to add character to the city. The scenery started dry, and then lots of trees, greenery, and vineyards.

Our first stop was a very serious and somber one, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and History Museum. We went in, and right from the start, it was an incredibly well-thought-out museum. Every question that might come across your mind about the Holocaust was answered, visually, and with shocking and relevant historic artifacts on display. Questions I've thought about for years danced through my head, questions with answers I knew some things about, or had always wondered about but had never heard a satisfactory explanation. Questions like "Why didn't the Jews fight back?" were answered with a very informative piece on Ghetto uprisings. Questions like "Why didn't people just pack up and leave Europe?" were answered with a section called "Borders Closed", describing the lack of empathy from most countries around the world for Jewish refugees from Europe. This quote floored me: "The world is full of places Jews can't live, and places Jews cannot enter". Oof.

The exhibits were immensely powerful, and had incredible explanations that were much clearer and more affecting than any Holocaust memorial or museum I've ever visited in another part of the world. It was a really tough but worthwhile experience. The kind of artifacts that were there, I have never seen before, and added to the weight of the place. There was a big patch of yellow felt, with several "Juif" yellow stars on it, with cut-out patterns. That was crazy, I've never seen that before. I've seen a single star before, but seeing the larger piece of felt with rows and rows of them with "cut-out" patterns showed the systematic, organized nature of the Nazi goals. It was pretty rough to see that. They also had the actual guard towers from Auschwitz... man. They were stark, tall, and ominous. It was very weird and unsettling to be near them. There were actual canisters that held Zyklon-B Gas (which was used in the gas chambers), that was frightening to see. Another exhibit showed an actual Torah which had been burned as part of Kristallnacht, which was both upsetting to see and also quite amazing that this evidence of such a horrific historical event existed, and was saved and preserved in the state it was found in. This image of a burned Torah -- the holy book of the Jewish people -- is not something I ever imagined, let alone thought I would see, and remains a strong memory of my visit to Yad Vashem.

Another memorable item was a comic strip, drawn by a 22-year-old prisoner. It was called "Life in the Camp" and was drawn using Mickey Mouse artwork. This was also quite unsettling to see, given the age of the artist and my chosen area of study. Most of my friends where I work would have drawn cartoons in their college years, as this prisoner did in the camp. He, presumably, used his artistic skill as a way to express the horror of his "Life in the Camp", and not to entertain and inspire audiences around the world, like he might have done alongside me and my friends -- if only he was born in my generation, and not in his own. This was very sad.

Something I noticed about the exhibits is that they clearly used the word "Murder" when discussing the Jews who died in the Holocaust, not the softer or indirect terms like "Reduction" or other words you might imagine seeing in governmental literature to lessen the horrific nature of the reality. Further exhibits talked about the 20,000 children refugees. Another section talked about US Immigration, and the huge bureaucracy involved there -- not surprising, but it was really crazy to think of bureaucracy slowing down refugees given the bigger picture of what was happening in Europe. The emigration exhibit did also mention Shanghai, and how favourable of a location it was for Jews fleeing Europe. It was interesting and exciting to see that mentioned after hearing similar positive stories about how the Chinese welcomed the Jews from the Shanghai Jewish Museum a couple months ago in China. After walking by an exhibit of personal effects (shoes, combs, razors...), the room started angling upwards as we walked up to more hopeful things.

The exhibits continued with a description of the Trials at Nuremberg and the world getting justice for some of the crimes against humanity perpetrated during the Holocaust. It descried "The Righteous Nation" of people who hid Jews and helped them escape. It also spoke of the birth of the State of Israel.

Yad Vashem, holocaust memorial
The view of Israel, from the Yad Vashem exhibit exit
Heading out of the museum, upwards further, through the outside doors, was a beautiful and breathtaking view of Jerusalem. The build up of sadness and horror, eventually leading upwards to hope. The build up to this was just incredible. What a museum!

From here we walked to the Jewish Holocaust Art Museum section of Yad Vashem, which had some amazing paintings, some created by prisoners at concentration camps. One called "Apart from the world" was one of my favourites.

Steven Spielberg, you are awesome.
We walked through the Audio/Visual Center, a place for learning and research, and had much documentation generated by Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation (his work on this foundation is one of the many, many reasons why Steven Spielberg is an incredible inspiration of mine).

From here, we walked to the actual Holocaust Memorial, and took some time there to reflect and be silent. We also went to the Children's Memorial, a presentation of glass, lights, and names being spoken aloud. It would be impossible not to be moved to tears in there.

Very powerful memorial of Holocaust victims
We then visited the extensive research area. It was very open and you were able to spend time in there researching family members, researching with books and documents from the Holocaust, or searching the computerized databases. I had never before seen the Shoah Foundation's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names, and so I tried a search for "Jutan"...

To my extreme surprise, MANY names came up.

The moment I found out that Jutans died in the Holocaust. Very tough moment.
My parents are from South Africa. Their parents were also from South Africa, born in the early 1900's, well before the Holocaust. It was my impression that the Jutans had traveled from England and/or Lithuania to South Africa, and we did not know of any relatives who had died in the Holocaust. I had assumed my extended family at that time was safe from the horrors of Europe, living in South Africa. This was not the case, and it was quite a shock to learn this immediately after experiencing the exhibits at Yad Vashem.

Documents about members of the Jutans (also, "Yutan" and "Iutan" from Poland and Lithuania) who died in the Holocaust
This database is actually available online, outside of the walls of Yad Vashem via this website: http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en I would like to honour the names of all the known Jutan family members who were victims of the Holocaust by listing them here. (Some of the names listed had a maiden name of Jutan, Yutan or Iutan). May their memories be a blessing.

Name
Year of Birth
Place of Residence
Source
Fate based on this source

Blacher, Miriam  1916  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Henia  1902  Osmiany, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Chana  Kupiskis, Lithuania‎  List of persecuted p ...  Murdered 
Jutan, Mania  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Genia  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Mania  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Genia  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Rywa  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Rachil  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Sachariasch  1895  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Israel  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Rejzl Reizl  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Moshe  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Yita  1932  Oszmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Zacharijas  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Israel  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Malka  List of ghetto inmates  Presumably murdered 
Jutan, Israel Yisrael  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Gdaljau Gdaliyahu  1900  Oszmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Batia  1925  Osmiany, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Rachel Rakhel  1908  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Liba  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, First name unknown  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Gustav  Nasice, Yugoslavia‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Sonya Sonia  1890  Wilno, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Hersch David  Devenishki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Jhudit Yehudit  1904  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Aharon  1890  Vilna, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Etl Etel  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Eliezer Leizer  1902  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Hania Henia  1904  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Zachariasz Zakharia  1889  Wilna, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Mosze Moshe  1923  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Chaje Khaia  1913  Schelib, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Zachar Zakharia  1889  Wilno, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Szmuel Shmuel  1903  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Asnes  1885  Wilno, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Shmuel Samuel  1880  Wilno, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Reizl Reizl  1917  Devenishki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Jutan, Lejb Leib  1905  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Lewin, Rachel Rakhel  1913  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Maliszkiewicz, Rivka  Wilno, Poland  Page of Testimony, D ...  Murdered 
Nowoplanski, Szeine Sheina  1898  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Nowoplansky, Scheindl Sheindl  1907  Dzwiniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Snaider, Liba Ahuva  1901  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Sztyler, Golda  Wilno, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Yutan, Moshe  1934  Oszmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Yutan, Yitzhak Yaakov  1937  Oszmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Yutan, Laizar Eliezer  Oszmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Yutan, Henia  Oszmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Yutan, Shushana Shoshana  1914  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Beninson, Yehudit  Osmiana, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Goldberg, Chaja Khaia  1903  Wsielub, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Iutan, Shmuel  Oszmiana, Poland‎  List of murdered Jew ...  Murdered 
Iutan, Leiba Liba  Oszmiana, Poland‎  List of murdered Jew ...  Murdered 
Iutan, Leizer Eliezer  Oszmiana, Poland‎  List of murdered Jew ...  Murdered 
Iutan, Adela  Oszmiana, Poland‎  List of murdered Jew ...  Murdered 
Iutan, Etl Etel  Devenishki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Iutan, Khaia  Ukmerge, Lithuania‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 
Iutan, Etel  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  List of murdered Jew ...  Murdered 
Iutan, Yisrael  Dziewieniszki, Poland‎  List of murdered Jew ...  Murdered 
Levin, Rachel Rakhel  1915  Devenishki, Poland‎  Page of Testimony  Murdered 


This, as you can imagine, was quite a surprise.

It was also quite unexpected to see so many Jutans from Poland, as I had thought our ancestry was mostly from Lithuania. The spelling was cross-referenced with last names "Yutan" and "Iutan", since the Hebrew spelling is ื™ื•ּื˜ָืŸ

It was a great experience at the museum, a very well-designed and perfectly-implemented memorial of respect for the many who perished. And, as with life, when there is bad, there is also good. It was wonderful to end the tour on a sweet note. After a few hours at the museum, it was most certainly time for an ice cream. I got a Frozen Passion Fruit (Passi-Flora) juice.

From Yad Vashem, we went to the famous Mahane Yehoda "Shuk" (Market)! It was SO cool. The food was amazing, it was kindof like an Israeli Ferry Building. First things first, we had to stop at a place called "Martzipan". This has fresh, hot rugelach, so good they taste like tiny, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate croissants. These were insanely glorious. We got a pack of those, along with a few smaller ones and a folded, almond thing. They were all perfect and magical and we went to town on that pack of rugelach.

EPIC Rugelach at the Mahane Yehuda Market
Mmm...
Then, it was time to wander. We saw figs and cherries, dried fruits of all kinds, and a pile of Yarmulkes! There were some touristy things like Hamsas with house prayers on them... even one in Spanish, like I got in Buenos Aires!

Kippahs!
Bulk Candy is a thing here. Tell me more...
Interesting and unusual teas
Tasty Olives and salads
Angry Birds kippahs :)
So many
Nuts, figs, prunes
Next we saw a store that sold only Halva! This was crazy. I got a Passionfruit one and a 5-chocolate one. It was so smooth, like fudge. Amazing!

Some excellent Halva
HUGE Avocados
Picking out some Olives
We saw candy in bulk, tried a tasty snack mix, and I bought some "Bedouin Tea" with cardamom and sage in it, as well as a Chai Masala with cinnamon bark and ginger root in it! It was from a spice market and seemed a bit more "spice" than "tea", but it tasted pretty good.

What seemed funny is you could try anything you wanted to try... just by... taking it?! I "tried" many a grape and olive that way. Good times. On our way out of the market, we got a 1/2 falafel which came with fries in it. We also walked by the "Burekas", similar to the Borek pastry that I know well from the London Covent Garden Market. Back we walked to the parking lot... via Martzipan. I explained to everyone that sometimes, there is just the "right thing to do", it was something just so obvious that one should race to complete the task. What I was discussing, of course, was the obvious requirement to buy a 2nd container of rugelach to take back home that night (and eat a few more immediately). No one questioned this incredibly truthful statement.

For dinner we went to Chana and Avi's place, met by a funny cat (yes!). We had tons of salads, as Michal had explained them -- many, many, many tasty vegetable salads. I would be a vegetarian for this! Carrot, very hot pepper, eggplant ("Chatzilim"), roasted red pepper, and of course, HUMMUS!!!

More amazing salads at dinnertime
I tried a local liquor called "Arak", which was like the Greek "Orzo" and was quite strong. After many epic salads, we had fish and potato, chicken with filo pastry, beef roast, just so much food! I had brought a Coppola Wine from California, and we all had just a little -- with ice cubes added to the glass! We finished off the dinner with some pastry with plum, and amazing Neihaus chocolate. What an evening of good company and epic eating!

We headed back to Ra'anana after a great evening, and of course, it was time to eat again. We had an awesome midnight snack of pita (SO fresh!), hummus, pastrami, and matbucha (a type of tomato red pepper sauce). VERY good! We finished off the night sweetly with some of the crazy flavoured Halva we bought, and tons more of the epic rugelach (you know, we better eat it while it's fresh!)

After a long day of seriousness and somberness, followed by a lively afternoon of market food sampling and an evening of good company and great food, it was time for another great night of sleep!

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