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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Museum of Israel

A white dome reflected in a pool of water faces a foreboding black wall at the entrance to the Israel Museum. These seemingly disjointed architectural details symbolize one of the central messages of the Dead Sea Scrolls – the museum’s prize possession.

“The purpose of this building contrasting black versus white is to show the war of the ‘Sons of Light’ against the ‘Sons of Darkness,’” said Yehuda Ben Baruch, certified tour guide of Israel. “Inside the white dome are the Dead Sea Scrolls, which bring light to the whole world.”

The museum dissects the imagery of the battling sons of light and darkness, along with several other passages found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. With a giant scroll-shaped panel to display some of the papers at the center of the cone-shaped concrete room, the dark room gave me the feeling I had walked in one of the original jars where the first scrolls were discovered.

Outside the museum, I beheld a view of the entire city of Jerusalem – only the Jerusalem of 2,000 years ago. The 21,000-square-foot model of Jerusalem in the Late 2nd Temple Period appeared as the city would have during the time of Jesus.

My guide pointed out the location of Calvary, where Jesus was ascribed to the crucifixion, and where the Western Wall stood. One major difference from modern Jerusalem stood out with the presence of the golden Second Temple, which towered over the other stone buildings.

More stories from Eliza’s trip to Israel:
Israel, Illuminated
Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Yad Vasheem: the Holocaust Museum