About the Center
A new permanent exhibit called “The Generations Center” has recently been opened near the Western Wall. Visitors will enjoy a moving experience that relates the fascinating story of the Jewish people throughout the generations. This story takes us through 3,500 years- from exile to statehood, from destruction to rebuilding, and from crisis to hope.
Guests to the center will find an unusual and enchanting fusion of many creative elements: music, sculpture, archeology and light effects that together create a masterpiece to delight all the senses. The visitor is more than a spectator; he becomes an active participant who delves deeply into the history of the Jewish nation.
The center is divided into several rooms. Each room exposes the visitor to a different period in the chain of generations of the Jewish people, beginning with the forefathers and twelve tribes and concluding with the establishment of the State of Israel. Each room contains impressive works of art created from layers of glass illuminated by rays of light that shine forth through the darkened rooms. A play of light and glass creates the illusion of texture, shade and shape.
Building the center took seven years. During construction, fascinating archeological finds were discovered and it was decided to integrate them into the exhibit. In the “Room of Yearning” you may see a unique example of the combination of works of art and archeological finds. The foundations of the room include a wall from the period of the First Temple, a Mikveh (ritual bath) from Second Temple times, Crusader walls and a Mamluk ceiling. A glass floor was added, reflecting the Mikveh. A huge column “sprouts” from this floor, symbolizing the yearning for Zion. The creation of this work of art requires a tremendous amount of raw materials; the column, rising to the height of nine meters (approximately 29 feet), weighs about 15 tons!
The last portion of the center is called the “Hall of Light,” and this area contains the central message of the entire voyage. The visitors, surrounded by candles and pillars, sit in a darkened space around a lighted well. A holographic image of a man, shown on a screen amidst light and smoke, tells the story of Rabbi Yisrael Halevi, a Jew whose entire life was a song of yearning for Jerusalem, but who was taken to a concentration camp in Poland and was never fortunate enough to reach the Holy City. A paratrooper who took part in the battle for Jerusalem in 1967 hears from a student of the rabbi, who survived the Holocaust, the story of Rabbi Yisrael. This story leaves its stamp upon the paratrooper’s heart, and while he fights in the battle to liberate the city, feels that he represents the Jewish people over the generations, and that Jews from previous generations are fighting alongside of him.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy places, adds: “The story of Rabbi Yisrael Halevi , that completes the experience of visiting The Generations Center, epitomizes the secret of Jewish continuity – the nation that knew how to believe in rebuilding alongside destruction, and to build hope despite pain.”
The Center was established under the auspices of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation with the help of generous benefactors who sponsored the project. The Hall of Light was created with the generous help of Ira and Inge Rennert. The Hall of Names was established through the generosity of Mort Zuckerman in honor of his daughter Abigail.
There is no doubt that the tremendous investment in the site has born fruit. This has resulted in using a delightful medium to bring home a strong, touching and meaningful message. A visit to the Center provides food for further thought and a lasting impression. Each one of us is a link in a long chain of generations – a chain that is anchored in the past and offers us continuity in the future.
Please make reservations for your visit by telephone (02-627 1333).
Entrance fee: 20 NIS for adults, 10 NIS for children