YERUSHALAYIM – 3000 km – "A call full of love for freedom for man. That we succeed in overcoming the (inner) fences in our dealings with one another and do not seek to find our inner stability behind fences of ideology." (inscription). The Holy of Jerusalem can only be preserved if there are boundaries. Their mindful recognition gives rise to a call for freedom.
Yerushalayim (English: Jerusalem, Foundation of Peace) can be read on the Border Stone at the entry of the Garden of Freedom. The name Jerusalem has always been a metaphor for beauty, hope, and light. As the “Heavenly Jerusalem”, it is a call for a world in which people live together in peace, freedom, and dignity. The Hebrew name has been chosen as a reconciliatory avowal (Numbers 24:9) to a Jewish root of the European culture. Values from the Torah – such as the 10 commandments – became anchored in our European culture, through Christianity. They are values of freedom and life.
Jesus was a Jew and he never left his faith. He had interpreted the Torah, but founded no new religion. „Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.“ (Matthew 5:17)
A greeting“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. In order to get into the Jerusalem from above one has to go through the Jerusalem from below. Everyone would have the opportunity in Bensheim now… more” (Rabbi Andrew Steiman)
Peace and fences (September 2015)“Jerusalem” is more than just religious ideology; it denotes an idea of life. It is like the hope of waking up from a dark dream and find yourself in a world where people feel a closeness to each other and touch each other in all sincerity. This commences in the words that we speak. However, this proximity, in which everyone may bring their beauty, is not possible without healthy boundaries. Without them, we would lose ourselves. We first need to recognize these boundaries. They are to be respected. Boundaries (fences) can only be overcome in close cooperation, with mutual understanding. However, “overcoming” is not the same as “tearing down” or ignoring boundaries.
Life is impossible without delimitation. We erect fences and devise borders to protect values and the diversity of ideas and structures. Matter itself is structure, thus demarcation. The more a culture approaches spiritual maturity, the more the healthy boundaries and values are realized in the inside, the more the external borders and fences can actually fall within this culture. A natural demarcation of this culture to the outside remains.
A “heavenly Jerusalem on Earth” cannot be enforced by tearing down fences (boundaries). This idea is not about peace and humanity, but ideological blindness and recklessness about what fences protect. The results of it are even more conflict and war. “Yerushalayim, that we do not seek to find our inner stability behind fences of ideology." - is written on the (Jerusalem) Border Stone by the European long-distance hiking trail. There is a peaceful way to overcome boundaries. This path can only begin with ourselves. The path of peace to the inside again led to the outside into a responsibility in the world. The current political events in Germany clearly illustrate how important it is that a healing of the cultural roots of the Germans can take place and how important it is to establish a culture of freedom.
By the hiking trail
TheBorder Stone is located by a hiking trail. The trail stands as a metaphor for the path of experience in life. Every human being is free to go his own spiritual path of experience in his life. Religions can be trailblazers and can give support in that with their structure, meaning demarcation and order. Religions become a problem when they no longer respect the individual's spiritual path, because they have become the walled-in and closed space of a religious ideology. The Catholic theologian Karl Rahner wrote about religion: "The pious of the future will be a 'mystic', one who has 'experienced' or he will cease to be pious."
Rabbi Mordechai Mendelson at the Jerusalem Border Stone
HealingJerusalem is root and vision, woven into our culture, often injured in past and present. The freedom and abundance of life that we as humans and as a society desire cannot be realized without healing the deep wounds within our own souls and collective consciousness. Only then we will be free to more comprehensively understand the world and act responsibly today. “To learn from the past” means to turn a burden of the past into a blessing for the future.
The German pastThe unlabeled side of the Border Stone points towards the west, to the Hochstädten Valley, which contains numerous subterraneous tunnels as a result of the mining activities since 1865. Still, at the end of the 2nd World War it was envisioned to build up a weapons production at this place, protected from aerial strikes. Various displaced Greeks and concentration camp prisoners were used as forced laborers. The theme here is war and tyranny and our handling of this German past. This camp was operated as an external camp of the main Concentration Camp Natzweiler-Struthof in Alsace. The theme is thus also a system of main and external camps, which at the end of the war covered the whole of Europe and even included small towns such as Hochstädten. Here, you can find my essay of this history of the location substantiated with historical documents.
The Border Stone reminds us in the context of a break in civilization as a memorial stone, not to let us be captured by ideologies and to remember the values who let us speak of the Heavenly Jerusalem. The threshold underneath the Border Stone points to the Peace Memorial to the right of the Stone, with the inscription „Where dust is turned to light“.
HopeWe know that we will never be satisfied living in a world that struggles in the shadows of ignorance and hate, knowing that life should be filled with beauty, truth, and good. Only where light is, the darkness can give way, which is why the Border Stone bears the inscription "Yerushalayim". The name represents hope for the world. The peace of Jerusalem is universal; it applies to all humans. Jerusalem could and should make people come together.
Inscription: Where dust is turned to light
„You who are watching, who did not raise a murderer hand, but who did not shake off the dust from your yearning, who stood still, right there, where it is turned to light.“ The Jewish poet Nelly Sachs wrote these words in a poem after the Shoah. Monuments can be an encouragement to get involved for a world of peace and freedom and in that way to learn from the past. How can we take responsibility in the sense of Yerushalayim - the heavenly Jerusalem - in the world? Where does our responsibility begin? „Where dust is turned to light“ – this inscription on the ground in front of the Border Stone points towards the Tree of Life in the Peace Memorial. It shows the way to your own inner centre: Peace and freedom begin in the own inner world.
„Be the change that you wish to see in the world.“ (Gandhi)