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August 31, 2009August 31, 2009  0 comments  Travel: The Independence Hall


The finale - The Independence Hall

‘Birth of Israel' was my heart's requisite as I prepared for Sukkoth 08. This was my first feast visit. I had a plan to put in place that had to synch with ‘the plan' of my heart, for the time.  How was I to know of the arrangements and the fulfillment of the preparation I was led into? Determined to follow the ‘call', I set to a surfing-search and reached the International Christian Zionist Centre. I identified well with the Director, Jan Willem Van der Hoeven and had witnessed his teaching on the prophetic messages on Israel, the Promised Land, during the 2006 IRI summit.

The itinerary for the Feast at ICZC did say that the Valley of Hinnom would be a venue. On reading this, the familiar ‘Valley of the dead dry bones' (Ezekiel 37) flashed instantly within and impulsively, the decision was made! Yet, this was just half-way into the plan. I carried on with the quest, digging into tour plans and historical sites of Israel, till the Independence Hall of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, singled out. With that included and my restless heart at rest, my Sukkot '08 walk-the-talk plan was now ready.

The whole program with its extended tour was enriched with meaning - archeology came alive (Isaiah 29:4); scriptures spoke, sang and danced; spiritual senses leapt in emotions; exchange of warmth in brotherly hugs had a meaning; meeting with the soldiers as we walked and a few holocaust victims and their families during the Feast program; sharing love with Jerusalem from around the world was pure and genuine; ‘The Covenant' musical visit was fulfilling..... but the constant reminder of the ‘Birth of Israel', with the Independence Hall lingered.

End of the 14-day stay found friends, Rachel, Willem, Shalin and me in Tel Aviv, ready to return home. By now, packed with the teachings and sharings during Sukkot and before we split to 4 corners of the world, wishing each other, ‘Le Shannah haba B'Yirushalayim!', we made our way to the final visit destination - The Independence Hall and it was already mid-morning, with Shabbath opening looming overhead. Packed in Rachel's car, with the downloaded map in hand, detours, wrong stops, asking for directions, last minute unfinished conversations and the clock ticking.. we finally got to 16 Rothschild Boulevard.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art was finally a reality!!!!! We raced in to be met by a kind gentleman who gave us each a Visitor's Guide and ushered us to the Audio Room. Each in our own little space as we experienced the walk around, reading the life size sepia-colored pictures of Israel's return to their Promised Land. The interior walls of the museum bear the quotes of Isaiah 35:1, Amos 9:14 and Jeremiah 31:8. For a fleeting moment, I ran my hand on one of the walls and wondered, ‘What, if these walls could talk...?"

According to the Visitor's Guide, on April 11, 1909, sixty families had gathered in this place. The purpose being to perform a lottery for land plots for a new Jewish neighborhood, known as Ahuzat Bayit, to be established outside the walls of Jaffa. At this event, Meir and Tsina Dizengoff acquired plot number 43, where they built their home. Meir Dizengoff served as the head of the new neighborhood council, and eventually became the first mayor of the city of Tel Aviv. After Meir's wife passed away in 1930, he donated his home to his beloved city of Tel Aviv and requested that it be turned into a museum. In 1936, after a renovation, it became the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. In May 1948, David ben Gurion, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in the museum hall. The hall was restored and in 1978, the Independence Hall was inaugurated and opened to the public.

After this quick read, we were led to an Audio room... time still ticking.. Seated in our own places, between the historical exhibits, letting the feeling of the time sink in, we viewed a 15-minute film recounting the events of the period and history of the building.  It was a special moment, even though I couldn't understand much of the language, it gave me a jumpstart every time I would recognize a word with the very limited Hebrew, I knew.

From here on, we were escorted to the Hall - felt like the final endorsement to a dream come true. This was the historic hall, in which David ben Gurion made that final declaration and fulfilled the prophecy for the world to witness! Bible was alive. The room is of wooden décor with a huge dais that has the famous Judge hammer  and names of those who attended the 1948 ceremony; and chairs. Theodore Herzl's portrait is hung above the centre stage with flanked by 2 Israeli flags along either side. Most of the pictures displayed, at the time, part of the Tel Aviv Museum's collection from the day the state was declared, remain on the walls. In the corner in the room are various items connected with the ceremony: documents, invitations, recording and broadcasting equipment, memos and more

I read the name plates, amidst the heart thuds and paused for a bit at Ben Gurion's name and the hammer on the table. The original recording of the ceremony - the Independence speech was played in the silence of the room and this followed the ‘Ha Tikvah', for which we stood in reverence. It felt like I was singing the anthem with those gathered in the room in 1948.  I couldn't stop it but tears flowed ... These emotions were personal and safeguarded. My visit was now complete. On my way out, our escort, who was closely watching me said, ‘I have something to give you....' A remembrance worth a lifetime - The New York Times copy of May 14th 1948.

I imagined the hora the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and other prophets would have danced and repeatedly said, "I told you so....", if they were alive today. God of Israel never lies!!!!!' I choked with joy... for the reality was a prophecy fulfilled in our time, ‘Who ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Is a country born in one day? Is a nation brought forth all at once? For as soon as Tziyon went to labor, she brought forth her children.' Isaiah 66:8. And this impression was so personal.

This visit taught me a lasting and satisfying lesson - be ready when you visit Israel, there is so much that she will share with you. Let her do so, in her way...Make this one of your stops... it is a must to complete the tour.



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Posts: 9
Comments: 3
I have visited and traveled the Holy Land, no better description, for pilgrimage, a tour and even for a Bible feast and have yet not had enough. It is so true when people say, 'The Bible comes alive' - every stone talks here!
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