Zion's Hope Holy Land Museum to open in Orlando

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ORLANDO -- The Holy Land Museum is the name of a

$10 million, seven-acre attraction planned by Zion's Hope, an organization of Messianic Jews, which has the aim of converting Jews to Christianity. It will break ground here later this month next to Zion's Hope's headquarters overlooking Interstate 4, not far from an exit under construction.

The museum's site is near Vineland and Conroy roads. Currently two to four groups per day visit the headquarters without charge. The structure houses what the organization claims is the largest replica of first century Jerusalem.

A September 2000 opening is projected, according to the Rev. Marvin Rosenthal, executive director and founder of Zion's Hope, who said during an interview that he has escorted groups to the Holy Land and lectured on cruises.

Admission to the Holy Land Museum, he said, is expected to run $8 to $12. There will be rates for motorcoach and other groups, he added. Rosenthal, an ordained Baptist minister who converted from Judaism, denied allegations by Orlando-area rabbis that the museum is designed for evangelical purposes using a soft-sell approach with much emphasis on the Old Testament.

The approach, Rosenthal said, consists of nondenominational accounts from the Bible, including Jesus Christ, and shouldn't "offend" anyone. Visitors, of course, are free to draw their own conclusions after their visit, he said.

More than three hours should be set aside for a visit, Rosenthal added. The Holy Land Museum experience will include a re-creation of Jerusalem's six-story Herodian Temple atop Mount Moriah; a Court of the Nations where concerts and other entertainment will be presented; a film on the history of the Bible; a village bazaar re-creation of the streets of ancient Jerusalem; an oasis-themed cafe, and a 22-minute movie with special effects.

There also will be a Bedouin tent from which Old and New Testament characters will address visitors. In addition, there will be indoor and outdoor exhibits and displays, including a replica of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and a replica of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

Shops will carry merchandise from the Middle East, Rosenthal said.

Zion's Hope Holy Land Museum

Phone: (407) 239-3236

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