Chapter: In the Public / Press Reports / Lag baOmer

- Press release of the association Friedensmal Wendepunkt -
Article was published in Bergsträßer Anzeiger on July, 22, 2014

Peace arrives

Lag baOmer 2014 at the Jerusalem Friedensmal in the "Hesse day city" Bensheim

At the
Jerusalem Friedensmal in the "Hesse Day City" Bensheim last Sunday the Jewish fest Lag BaOmer was celebrated for the first time. It is a fest in the great outdoors. The monument is located entirely in nature in the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald by the European long-distance hiking trail. With perfect weather the Chabad Jewish community from Karlsruhe met there with local citizens. The encounter was focused on the theme: peace arrives. With its atmosphere and symbolism, the Jerusalem Friedensmal makes steps into a new togetherness 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 path up to the hill of the
Jerusalem Friedensmal led over a site on which a subcamp of the concentration camp Natzweiler Struthof was located in World War II.Thus, the past was also still present here, as in many places in Germany. It was a short walk of 30 minutes. Arriving at the place, the initiator and architect of the monument site Thomas Zieringer led the guests through the symbolism of the design. The starting point was the Stone of Encounter. 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 Stone of Encounter, that such necessary places can only be created with a lot of idealism and a freedom from 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 went together to the 26 meters large
Friedensmal in the middle of the monument site. There they stepped above the threshold, which runs around the monument circle. It is written on it: "Recognize the sacred 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. The walk into the Friedensmal ends in the middle of the Tree of Life. There, visitors will find a Star of David lying on twelve white petals.

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, unaffected whether they were Jews or even old-established or new residents in the village. At 3 clock in the afternoon 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 Friedensmal by the 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.


Note: This is a translation of the original article published by the Bergsträßer Anzeiger on May 22, 2014.



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