From Tent to Temple: Resurrection in Jerusalem

  • Avril Alba
Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)


Enshrining the Prophet Ezekiel’s vision into law, the Holocaust Remembrance and Heroism Law, Yad Vashem, 5713–1953, section 4 seeks to bestow upon Jews who were exterminated, and those who fell in the Holocaust and in uprising, commemorative citizenship of the State of Israel as a sign of their ingathering unto their nation.1 This remarkable piece of legislation reverberates with the sacred archetype of resurrection, a theology that finds its roots in the Tenach, its fullest exposition in rabbinic literature and its continued expression in the recitation each day by observant Jews of the Amidah, Shmoneh Esreh, or Tefillah — the ‘Eighteen Benedictions’ that comprise the central prayer of the daily and Sabbath liturgy. The related concept of the ‘ingathering of the Exiles’, the national restoration of the Jewish people in their ancient homeland, also finds its beginnings in Ezekiel’s famous vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones. In the biblical context, the prophet’s vision points to the hoped-for end of the Babylonian exile and the actual, physical return of the Exiles to Jerusalem.2 The Remembrance and Heroism Law speaks of another kind of resurrection — of those whose physical bodies will never be recovered — a resurrection of memory that will be achieved through the collection of documents, objects, photos and, most of all, names, the millions of names of Holocaust victims that it is Yad Vashem’s self-declared mission to collect and display. Both visions share a hope for national restoration. For the latter, though, this is not to occur through supernatural means but rather through the political and legal actions of the modern State of Israel.


Jewish Identity Jewish People Jewish Life Jewish Tradition Divine Command 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bella Gutterman and Avner Shalev, To Bear Witness: Holocaust Remembrance at Yad Vashem (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2008), p. 17.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Tom Segev, The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), p. 421.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    For a full description of both the relief and the entirety of the old museum complex, see James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), pp. 251–60.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Shmuel Spector, ‘Yad Vashem,’ in Israel Gutman (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990), vol. 4, 1681–6.Google Scholar
  5. 21.
    Stephanie Shosh Rotem, Constructing Memory: Architectural Narratives of Holocaust Museums (Bern: Peter Lang, 2013), pp. 31–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 28.
    Moshe Safdie, Yad Vashem: Moshe Safdie — the Architecture of Memory (Geneva: Lars Mueller Publishers, 2005), pp. 62–3.Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    Dahlia Ofer, ‘The Strength of Remembrance: Commemoration of the Holocaust During the First Decade of Israel’, Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture and Society 6, no. 2 (2000), pp. 24–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 34.
    Dahlia Ofer, ‘Victims, Fighters, Survivors: A Challenge to Israeli Collective Memory and Historical Consciousness’ (Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University, 2010), p. 3.Google Scholar
  9. 35.
    Yaacov Shelhav, ‘The Holocaust in the Consciousness of Our Generation’, Yad Vashem Bulletin, July 1958, p. 2.Google Scholar
  10. 38.
    Arieh Leon Kubovy, ‘The “Day of Remembrance” Law’, Yad Vashem Bulletin, October 1959, p. 2.Google Scholar
  11. 39.
    Arieh Leon Kubovy, ‘A Day of Examination of Conscience’, Yad Vashem Bulletin, June 1960, p. 2. Emphasis added.Google Scholar
  12. 54.
    Avi Sagi, ‘The Punishment of Amalek in the Jewish Tradition: Coping with the Moral Problem’, The Harvard Theological Review 87, no. 3 (1994), p. 327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 66.
    Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken, 1974), pp. 340–1.Google Scholar
  14. 68.
    For example, a powerful closing exhibit in which fragments of texts from both victims, survivors, philosophers and other commentators concerning the Holocaust is intimately linked to an understanding of the Jewish people as ‘People of the Book’ and speaks to the revered and sacred status of text in the Jewish tradition. Indeed, commentators such as David Roskies, Naomi Siedman and Zoe Waxman have drawn attention to an emerging understanding of survivor testimony in particular as comprising a ‘New Scripture’. See David Roskies, The Jewish Search for a Usable Past (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999);Google Scholar
  15. Naomi Seidman, Faithful Renderings: Jewish Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Zoe Waxman, ‘Testimonies as Sacred Texts: The Sanctification of Holocaust Writing’, Past and Present, 206, no. 5 (2010), pp. 321–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 72.
    Leah Goldstein, ‘A View to Memory: The New Holocaust History Museum’, Yad Vashem Magazine 2004.Google Scholar
  18. 81.
    Hillel Halkin, ‘Memory and Redemption Coexist as Yad Vashem Expands’, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 October 2000, p. B16.Google Scholar
  19. 89.
    Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen (New York: Viking Penguin, 1967).Google Scholar
  20. 112.
    Tuvia Frilling, ‘Introduction’, Israel Studies, 14, no. 1 (2009), p. 12.Google Scholar
  21. 118.
    Dina Porat, The Blue and Yellow Star of David: The Zionist Leadership in Palestine and the Holocaust, 1939–1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 120.
    See, for example, Tuvia Frilling, ‘The New Historians and the Failure of Rescue Operations During the Holocaust’, Israel Studies, 8, no. 3 (2003), pp. 32–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 121.
    Yechiam Weitz, ‘Dialectical versus Unequivocal: Israeli Historiography’s Treatment of the Yishuv and Zionist Movement Attitudes toward the Holocaust’, in Benny Morris, Making Israel (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2007), p. 285.Google Scholar
  24. 128.
    Avraham Burg, The Holocaust is Over: We Must Rise from its Ashes (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 171–3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Avril Alba 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avril Alba
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations