... in love with life

The Jerusalem Friedensmal consists of the Friedensmal (image above), framed by a Garden of Freedom with the Stone of Encounter, bearing the inscription Yerushalayim. The Friedensmal is dedicated to the inner path and to a peace, which one carries with his speaking and acting outward into the world. In the middle of the Friedensmal there's the Blossom of Shalom, in which is inscribed the word "Chai", Hebrew for living.


Healing

The Jerusalem Friedensmal was inaugurated on September 27, 2015 in Bensheim, Germany. It stands for new life, for Germans, Jews, for the culture of Europe… for the people. It is at first about the individual who comes in contact with himself and his soul again (inside). In recognizing and respecting the boundaries in dealing with one another, he becomes able to open up himself to the encounter with the stranger (outside). Thus man freed himself - inside and outside - from the limitations made of his impressed concepts.

The walk through the monument becomes a process of self-discovery. In the deep human encounter, embracing soul and spirit, one may become aware of one's own hurt soul and the violation of the world. Symbolically spoken: a circle of healthy community can emerge again around the Friedensmal. The Jerusalem Friedensmal thus becomes a symbol for a work into the world that knows of the sacredness of life.

Art shall give society an impulse. The Friedensmal is about the restoration of relationships. This idea is already included in the name (Frieden means peace). But the idea must come to life and become concrete in the world. This place has its own story of where this responsibility can be lived. From the Friedensmal you can look into the Rhine valley, where once the "Jerusalem on the Rhine" was located. With this location and name finally the message of peace of Yerushalayim (the Idea of Jerusalem) acts upon the sorrow-laden German-Jewish history. More about this can be found in the chapter Living the answer.



The frame of the project (1:1 פרקי אבות) - a Garden of Freedom

Garden of Freedom in Bensheim, Germany

A Garden of Freedom with its outer border gives the frame and space in which the Jerusalem Friedensmal can take place. It's about the space we create together to make it happen. This space is a call for peace, freedom and new life.

With its two "angel wings" a Garden of Freedom is framing the 26 meters large Friedensmal. At the border to the European long-distance path E8 (the way through the world) there is the Stone of Encounter with the inscription Yerushalayim on the "side of hope". On its other side suffering, both past and current, is addressed. Below it a slate stone in the ground with the inscription „Where dust is turned to light”  is pointing in the direction of the Friedensmal.

Projects Framework - A Garden of Freedom forms the framework of the Jerusalem Friedensmal. This allows contact with the environment, where in practice the German admonishing memorials often cause defenses. This chapter, with an overall view as well as an explanation of the individual elements of the design, serves as a solid introduction to the understanding of the project.



Friedensmal - for the inner path to life

The Tree of Life within the Circle of Peace

When rounding the Friedensmal, you arrive at the same spot again and again. You circle around yourself until you finally stop and walk into the inner to the Tree of Life. For that, you have to walk over the two encircling steps, the Threshold of Humility (and high spirits) with the inscription „Recognize the sacred in your midst”. In the picture you look straight on the Tree of Life as a relief in the monument circle.

The meaning of the Tree of Life within the peace monument is described well with the words of Eckhart Tolle in his book "Stillness Speaks": A dimension of consciousness that reaches deeper than thinking, one could call it awareness, presence or unconditioned consciousness. It is the very essence of who you are.

11 large stones in the "dark ring" symbolize the blockades and entanglements that stand on man's way to himself between him and his freedom. It is the mind of the traumatized person. Unfree people are identified with their entanglements and this is exactly the reason, why the world can be in a state as it is today. The liberation from the entanglements is symbolized within the Friedensmal by the Tree of Life breaking open the dark ring.

The 12th stone, the Stone of Encounter (in the outer), stands outside the monument circle at the European long-distance path E8. It represents a responsibility for freedom and peace in the external world. It is „…a call full of love for the freedom of man”  (inscription).

The Friedensmal - A detailed description of its symbolism is provided here.



Stone of Encounter - the dark and raw side

The dark and raw side of the Border Stone

This is the 12th stone, the Stone of Encounter. We look at the past, remember who we truly are, and confront the present. Life happens in the present: Where do we experience war and restriction instead of peace and freedom today, in our own lives? Where can we assume responsibility for a more beautiful world? Where does our responsibility begin? A threshold of slate underneath the Stone of Encounter refers to the Friedensmal located to the right of it, with the inscription „Where dust is turned to light”.  It shows visitors the way to the path inwards. It signifies a peace that can be found in oneself and which one will carry outwards into the world.

Local Past - The 12 years of Nazi rule, a collapse of civilization in the end, is a wake up call for a life in freedom; beyond the borders of an ideological prison.



Stone of Encounter - the light and smoothed side

Bright side of the Jeruslem Border Stone

Inscription: „Yerushalayim - A call full of love for freedom for man. That we recognize the fences in our dealings with one another and do not seek our life in the past". The Stone of Encounter stands for coming into relationship with the counterpart and it shows the holiness that lies therein. In the encounter, the mere idea about the other melts. Life is development. The picture shows the old version of the inscription, which lasted 7 years: "... that we overcome the fences in our dealing with one another and do not seek our foothold behind fences of ideology". At that time the stone was still called Border Stone. With the new version, the claim to overcome captivity in ideologies comes to life. Now the stone already shows in the name an openness for relationship. To recognize boundaries shows that the other may think differently and have different ideas about the world. This is an interest in the Other and his other view and knowledge of the world.

YERUSHALAYIM – designates the spiritual Jerusalem. The root "Jerusalem" reaches beyond Christianity into the origins of Judaism. Yerushalayim is thus also "the other" and at the same time a root of our European culture, which has been deeply hurt. Behind the Stone of Encounter, in the direction of Jerusalem, there is a fence on the other side of the European long-distance path E8. Its symbolic meaning is: healthy boundaries. We do not put walls between us humans and we do not tear down fences. Rather, we are aware of the fences and recognize the light and beauty they protect. Freedom does not mean "No nation, no border". Freedom comes from within: we become aware of the inner "ideological fences" that separate us from each other; and from truth and life.

Encounter Stone - Here you will find a detailed reflection on the two sides of the large stone from Odenwald quartz: the raw side with the suffering and the burden of the past and the light and smoothed side that shows the sanctity of relationship. The name "Yerushalayim" denotes a root of our culture and it is a reference to the "heavenly Jerusalem". The stone is a symbol of healing and freedom and thus a hope for peace in the world.



Jerusalem on the Rhine - a Jewish past

View from the Friedensmal onto Jerusalem on the Rhine

View onto the Rhine Plane, where once was Jerusalem on the Rhine. If you look from the Blossom of Shalom to the west, between the two hills, the silhouette of the city of Worms (22 km) can be seen with its huge cathedral on the horizon. Worms is the geographical middle of the three cities Speyer, Worms and Mainz, who formed in the high Middle Ages Jerusalem on the Rhine. Because of their vital importance for the Jewish congregations in Central Europe, they are considered the birthplace of the Ashkenazi Jewish culture in the High Middle Ages.

Jerusalem on the Rhein - Here you'll find more information about this Jewish history.



The Blossom of Shalom - for a living heart

The Blossom of Shalom within the Jerusalem Friedensmal

The Blossom of Shalom bears the Seed of Life. Shalom means harmony, salvation, wealth, and peace. The Jewish poet Nelly Sachs described Shalom as „a butterfly zone of dreams“. Shalom begins in one's own soul. The Blossom of Shalom consists of twelve white petals and a star resting on it (heart chakra): A living heart!  The hexagonal star symbolizes the connection between "Heaven" and "Earth", between spirit and matter. Together with the centre point, it is a symbol of Shabbat, which also means the "coming to oneself" of man. The blossom is located in the center of the Tree of Life within the Friedensmal: man can connect "heaven" and "earth" inside himself, similar to a tree.

The Blossom of Shalom - Here you can find pictures and texts of the inauguration of the Blossom of Shalom on May 17, 2012.



The placing of the "Chai" - because life is sacred

"But the idea must come to life and become concrete in the world" - I had written at the beginning of the page. The idea is becoming clear and concrete in the world at this location in Germany with the topic "Peace in the German-Jewish relations". It concerns the deepest trauma of Germans and Jews. If the frozen traumatic energy were released, it would be free to serve life again. To serve life  would be to learn from our past.


Mordeshai Mendelson sets the Turning PointRemembering is not enough: As a symbol for life Rabbi Mordechai Mendelson sets the Turning Point with the inscription "Chai" (living).


Peace for the individual: One perceives the pain, grief, fear and anger caused by the memories and walks a path of peace with them. It is not peace with injustice, but it means that one no longer runs away from these feelings; they become embraced in love and in a hope of new life.

Making relationship: The Friedensmal gives a space for a deep encounter with fellow human beings. This is how to overcome the "Terror of Loneliness" programmed into our society. Society needs cohesion rather than division. Understanding the Friedensmal means "to refuse cooperation with madness"  (Rubikon).

New Life: A recovery would become visible in people being awake, responsible and freedom-loving and in the symbols for life, which are created in culture. How does our country deal with a peace monument in German-Jewish relations?  (Comment of the president of the Central Committee of the Jews in Germany, Dr. Josef Schuster)


The Turning Point with the inscription "Chai", Hebrew for "living", had been placed by Rabbi Mordechai Mendelson on May 14, 2017 (Jewish calendar: 9 (Iyar), 18, 5777) in the center of the Friedensmal. From this one point, the whole monument had been measured and constructed. "Recognize the Sacred in your Midst" is the inscription on the entrance to the Friedensmal. - Life (chai) is sacred.





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