For those who know their Zionist history, this place will strike a surprisingly moving chord. I stopped here on my first and solo visit to Israel in 1988. Even though non-Jewish, I had been obsessed with Zionism and Israeli history since the age of 12, and had seen pictures of this place for years -- the classic photo of David Ben-Gurion reading the Declaration of Independence to a packed crowd, with a photo of Theodore Herzl visible above him. It was, of course, the birth of the State of Israel.

When I walked into the hall and saw it preserved exactly as it was that day, I surprised myself (and attendant, the only other person there) by bursting into tears. He then played a recording of Ben-Gurion reading the proclamation proclaiming Jewish independence after nearly 1900 years of statelessness. It was a lovely moment, and I was very glad that I had stopped. Simple place -- but some of the best places are.

If you don't care much about the history of the founding of the s...