About the Name Jerusalem Yerushalayim is written on the 'Stone of Encounter'

A Name That Calls for Love and Healing Dialogue

The Friedensmal is more than just a piece of art; it is a place of encounter, reflection, and inspiration. The associated name Yerushalayim / Jerusalem on the 'Stone of Encounter', which literally means 'Site of Peace', was deliberately chosen to illustrate the deeper meaning and purpose of this place. It serves as a guide to reconciliation, reminding us not only of the physical Jerusalem in the world – with its beauty as well as its conflicts and traumas – but also of the 'Jerusalem within us', where conflicts can be pacified.

The name 'Jerusalem' - a focal point of our culture still shaped by Christian traditions in Europe - refers not only to a terrestrial location but also to the 'heavenly Jerusalem' within us. On the way there, we encounter the 'Jerusalem in the world', which can also mean enduring difficulties because one stands up for the right values.

In today's world, 'Jerusalem' is a symbol that evokes a wide range of emotions and associations. For some, it is a place of faith and spirituality; for others, a focal point of conflict and strife. This is precisely where the Friedensmal begins its work: it invites us to reflect on the entanglements and challenges associated with the name, offering a space to seek and find peace in a comprehensive sense.

Friedensmal reminds us that true peace is often achieved only through navigating difficult paths. It encourages us to venture into areas that are challenging and demanding, to bring in light and change. The name 'Jerusalem' is not meant to deter, but to invite the Abrahamic religions into dialogue. It aims to inspire us to reflect on our own concepts of peace and harmony, recognizing that the path to peace often involves overcoming barriers and misunderstandings.

Friedensmal symbolizes that peace is possible if we are willing to face challenges and collaboratively seek solutions. Everyone is invited to be part of this dialogue, working together towards a new understanding of peace and togetherness.

Jerusalem on the Rhine - A Regional History

Jerusalem am Rhein

The 'Stone of Encounter' at the Friedensmal emerged in the context of a deeper, regional history. Here at the Friedensmal near Bensheim, on a hill along the European long-distance hiking trail, one can look out over the Rhine valley towards Worms – a part of the historical 'Jerusalem on the Rhine'. This term recalls the SchUM cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, which played a central role in the Ashkenazi Jewish culture of the High Middle Ages and are considered the birthplace of this culture. The tragic events experienced by these communities, including the Crusades and pogroms, are an essential part of our shared history, which is acknowledged at the Friedensmal in its pursuit of reconciliation and understanding.

In the German-Jewish context, peace does not mean drawing a line under the past, but illumination and transformation – a development we all greatly need. This understanding of peace as a continuous process, marked by reflection and change, demands that we learn from history and use the lessons of the past as the foundation for our actions today. Learning from the German past today means bravely standing up for the values of our culture. The
Friedensmal is intended to strengthen trust in the possibility of reconciliation. - For more information about the SchUM cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz and their significance for Jewish culture and history, click here.

Jerusalem and the Threatened Freedom of Speech


WHAT does 'learning from the past' actually mean, as is so often demanded of people in Germany? In Germany, we are currently facing a challenging situation where freedom of expression and open dialogues often seem restricted. This also affects the perception and acceptance of projects like the 'Friedensmal of Change', which was originally inaugurated as 'Jerusalem Friedensmal' on the front pages of the Jerusalem Post and Ha'Aretz in 2013. The name 'Jerusalem' has profound meanings and was intended to be a symbol of openness and reconciliation, but faced insurmountable challenges in an environment where freedom of speech is under pressure. Interestingly, the Friedensmal was inaugurated in Germany as the 'Jerusalem Friedensmal' in 2015 with an address on the importance of freedom of speech, highlighting the significance of the Friedensmal in these times. [Link to the Speech]

Stone of Encounter

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