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Today I finally remembered to take my camera with me to campus for two specific purposes; first, I wanted to photograph the location of the terrorist attack from 2002 as mentioned in the title; and then I wanted to photograph my favorite piece of artwork adorning the campus here (two fairly separate ideas, but near each other so posted together).

The Attack
In the Nancy Reagan Plaza, outside of the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria (very odd choice of names, I know), there is the location of a terrorist attack in 2002. Up until that point, Hebrew University had been an open campus without much in the way of security or walls around the campus proper. As drawn from one of the memorial plaques at the location today:

“On Wednesday, July 31, 2002, at 13:32, a bomb exploded in the cafeteria at this site. In this act of terrorism, nine Hebrew University students and staff were killed. More than eighty were wounded. The very foundations of the University were shaken.”

This is the inscription on the plaque beneath a tree labeled “Tilted Tree,” and for good reason. The tree (pictured below) was partially uprooted by the force of the blast, yet still stayed partially in the ground. After clearing up much of the other damages caused by the explosion, the decision was made to leave the tree at the angle and enable it to continue to grow as such, in a sort of defiant statement that life will continue to go on, even in the presence of terrorism.

Nearby, closer to the actual location of the blast is a garden with a stone facade naming those killed in the blast. As drawn from those panels:

“The unwavering resolve of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to continue its mission of research and teaching in an atmosphere of openness and tolerance for the benefit of Israel, the Jewish People, and humanity serves as an everlasting tribute to those who lost their lives here in such tragic circumstances.

[list of the names of those killed] Benjamin Blutstein, Marla Bennett, Revital Barashi, David Gritz, David Ladowski, Janis Ruth Coulter, Dina Carter”

As a result of that attack, Hebrew University is now completely surrounded by high walls with only a select few entrances (each with security guards and metal detectors). It was nice to know that the school had managed to stay free from very overpowering security for so many years before 2002, but given the reality of the situation here, it can be argued that at least some of those security measures are needed, for the time being.

The Artwork
Although there are many, many sculptures around the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University, and quite a few of them are by famous Israeli sculptors, I still like one of them more than all the rest. Of all the Biblical imagery from the Old Testament, the story of Jacob wrestling all through the night with God (as mentioned both in Genesis and Hosea) is one of the better ones in my opinion. Something about the imagery of the man who was supposed to receive THE blessing of God, whose offspring would be the people of God still having to fight and wrestle with God (in the story literally, but in the lives of all people figuratively).


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