Link: Film on the inauguration ceremony
Note: In the first 3 years of the existence of this stone with the inscription "Yerushalayim" its name was "Jerusalem memorial stone". It served as a border stone. Then, with the inauguration of the entire monument under the name "Jerusalem Friedensmal", it became the "Stone of Encounter". "Yerushalayim" means "Jerusalem" in English. This stone marks the outer boundary of the memorial site. In the name lies the request to the society for the mindful recognition and good handling of what has become tangible in the world through the monument.
Welcoming address by Frankfurt Rabbi Andrew Steiman
From the Talmud, the Kidushim Treatise: “Ten fragments of beauty descended to the Earth; Jerusalem received nine, one fragment was left for the rest of the world”.
Jerusalem is more than a location. Jerusalem is a condition of beauty. Jerusalem is everywhere where there is beauty. Now, some of this beauty is with you, in Bensheim; and Bensheim can therefore choose to be in Jerusalem as well.
The road to Jerusalem that is above leads through Jerusalem that is below. Everyone in Bensheim now has this opportunity. In Jesaja, we read: “Deck thyself with majesty, Jerusalem”.
Each Jew who visits the synagogue knows the saying of Jesaja: “From Zion the instructions (Torah) will go forth and the Word of G*d of Jerusalem.”
The Prophet Zechariah states: “Men and women shall sit on the squares of Jerusalem and the city shall be full of playing children.”
I would like to leave you with these thoughts, as they represent a future in which you want to see these children playing there. At the end of each Jewish celebration, we speak of the future and end the celebrations with the words: Next year in Jerusalem.
Discover for yourself, whether this means the Jerusalem that is below or above or here in Bensheim. You owe it to Jerusalem; you owe it to yourself.
Press release: Jerusalem memorial stone inaugurated
The Jerusalem memorial stone at the Friedensmal (monument) in Bensheim-Hochstädten was inaugurated on October 21, 2012 at 15:00. Members of the Odenwald hiking club brought the Protestant pastor Christoph Mohr from a sermon in remembrance of the dead, held at Teufelsstein (devils stone), to the peace monument, which was within a short walking distance, where they then joined the other visitors in a celebration of life. Numerous guests had already arrived and were waiting. The area was shrouded in mist that lingered gently over the landscape. Gesine Habermann and Christian Treumann were dancing on stilts in angel-like costumes to "Borchi Nafshi Et HaShem" (blessed be God, my soul) by Shlomo Carlebach, in the outer ring of the 26 meters wide Friedensmal in the center of the site.The dark side of the memorial stone, which faces a former labour camp used for producing armaments during the Second World War, was inaugurated with a bouquet of flowers, placed before the inscription “Where Dust turns to Light” and an address by the initiator of the project, Thomas Zieringer. Respecting our history is one side of the story. The other side is the future, which we shape in accordance with the way we lead our lives in the present day and age. And for this reason we must endeavor to provide a positive contribution, so that the dark history remains just that: history. Zieringer made clear that, as an artist, his intention was to create an atmosphere in which the visitors are given the feeling that they are personally addressed. Every single individual should be placed in a position to recognize the war and captivity he or she recognizes within our society, is this dark side of the memorial stone.
The inscription “Where Dust turns into Light” draws attention to the Friedensmal, dedicated to inner peace and freedom from attachments and mental illusions. It shows the Tree of Life, which breaks through the one dark ring, representing an alienated intellect, and which is framed by a dance floor for the “Dance of Life”. The Friedensmal serves as a bridge toward the light side of the memorial stone, which is dedicated to peace in the world and a life in freedom. The visitors now go inside the Friedensmal, which is located only a few meters away, into the “Crown" of the Tree of Life. From there – under the sign of the Blossom of Life, in the center of the Friedensmal - the young musician Clemens Limp consecrated the Jerusalem memorial stone with the melody "Jerushalayim Shel Zahav - Jerusalem of Gold", which he played by violin, in utter surrounding silence.
Thereafter, all involved persons returned to the other "bright" side of the memorial stone. Here the following can be read: "Yerushalayim (Hebraic for Jerusalem, i.e. the City of Peace) - A call full of love for freedom for man. That we suceed in overcoming the fences in our dealings with one another and do not seek our foothold behind fences of ideology". Thomas Zieringer read a short word of welcome by the Frankfurt Rabbi Steiman: "Jerusalem is everywhere where beauty is to be found…"
Then the skies opened, the shrouds of mist vanished and the sun broke through the clouds, bathing the entire landscape in a golden light. After the speech by the city councillor, Oliver Roeder, district councillor, Kurt Knapp, who represented the Bergstraße district, and Markus van Kempen, for the local advisory council Hochstädten, Pastor Christoph Mohr used vivid words to explain what Jerusalem means to him. It is the vision of a world in which people can experience their personal relationship to God and where churches no longer require fixed locations, because peace lives within the hearts of people. Thereafter the open event commenced; a celebration of life, of joy, of interaction with one another, and of beauty, because this is what Yerushalayim means.
The stilts dancers moved rhythmically in front of the memorial stone, dancing to a melody by Shlomo Carlebach. Some time later, a number of visitors spontaneously started playing music on their instruments. One could also hear peace music dating back to the Hippie days. After the celebration, one visitor was so touched that he walked around the Friedensmal, going in circles, playing Hinne Ma Tov Uma Na'im (how wonderful it is when brothers live peacefully together) on his saxophone. By now the skies had cleared completely and were radiantly blue. The sun was shining down and spread pleasant warmth, despite the autumn temperatures.
This was the second inauguration in the development of the monument site. The first inauguration was on the May 17, 2012. There the theme was raised with the Blossom of Life in the center of the Tree of Life: man between heaven and earth. With the Jerusalem memorial stone (later: "Stone of Encounter") the second inauguration was dedicated to the confrontation with discord in the world and the hope of the peace of Yerushalayim. Outlook: With the 3rd inauguration, which stands for integration, the completed Peace and Freedom Site in Bensheim will later be inaugurated as the "Jerusalem Friedensmal".
The Jerusalem memorial stone was violated only nine days after the inauguration, on October 30th, 2012.
“There can be nothing worse than active ignorance.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Note: This is a translation of the original article published also by the Bergsträßer Anzeiger on October 25, 2012.
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