A word from the inspiration, Yaakov Rosenwasser
The Menorah and Jerusalem are two symbols that have accompanied the Jewish people from the Destruction to Redemption, through a chain of rebirth for over two thousand years. The symbolism is one rich in history, starting from the building of the Tabernacle in the desert, and accompanying the Jews in the desert for 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt, followed by being placed in both Temples which were then destroyed, and until today where it is an icon of history up until modern times, through joy and pain.
The image of the Menorah engraved coins, stone buildings, decorated pendants and jewelry, has been on top of buildings, known in every Jewish home, and was common symbol of Judaism through the ages.
Following the Roman victory over the Jews during the Second Temple era, the victors chose to commemorate the pride of victory by depicting a menorah being carried by Jewish prisoners looking tired and defeated. For two thousand years this has been one of the main symbols of Diaspora Judaism.
When the modern State of Israel was declared in 1948, the Menorah was chosen as one of the symbols of the State specifically for the above reason. It was chosen with hopes of erasing the negative connotation and transforming it in to a symbol of the new State and the rebirth of Jewish democracy in Israel. The images that are associated with the Menorah invoke our past to guide us to our future of continuing to have our People in our land.
The events that are depicted provide us with an understanding and depth of gratitude of the destruction that the Jews had to go through to achieve the ability to rebuild in our modern State of Israel.
My late father, the sole survivor of an extensive family annihilated in the crematorium, used to remind me that the independence of the Jewish People, the start of our salvation, is not something to take for granted. For generations, people could only dream of Jewish sovereignty and did not live to see it. We, as Jews who have merited seeing the State of Israel, must remember and keep alive those who were not as fortunate. As well, we must remember the arduous path we as a People had to take to get to where we are today.
The Menora, which until now has symbolized the destruction and exile; with the creation of the State, has become a symbol of optimism. The famine of the Destruction two thousand years ago is no longer, and the burnt stones have been transformed into new buildings.
Only a nation that knows how to preserve its past, through its youth, its history, and long-term memory merits the return to its land and its capital Jerusalem, and rebuild out of the ashes.
I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, Mrs. Diti Prower, the principal of the school who worked very hard to get this project off the ground. I also would like to thank Dr. Shai Fruchtman, a dedicated educator who from the beginning helped write and publicize the materials for this project, to enrich our children’s learning.