Update from the Gefilte Fish Family:
Today we started by going to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum. Our guide, Jackie, led us on an educational and emotional tour, while still adding touches of humor and optimism. It was so humbling to walk through the children’s memorial and realize that someone as young as 4 was not given special consideration because of their age. All of us had varying levels of understanding about the Holocaust but we all left Yad Vashem with a newfound motivation to spread knowledge of the Holocaust and what could have changed the outcome.
Some of us didn’t expect Mount Herzl, Israel's national military cemetery, to be as emotional and beautiful as it was, as a place celebrating life while respecting those who sacrificed their lives for their country. Seeing the newer graves of fallen soldiers and hearing the touching personal stories from our Israeli peers made the experience so much more moving and tangible. As our Israeli friend, Or, said, "Those who died are not just stories, they are real people whose lives were cut short." Gadi [our tour guide] read us a poem that made us think about the experiences the fallen soldiers will never be able to have, and made us appreciative of the opportunities that we have.
After the more solemn part of the day, we went to the Mahane Yehuda open-air market [aka the "shuk"
] for lunch and shopping for our Mysterious Moses gifts. It was cool to see the shuk during the day while everyone was bustling to get ready for Shabbat and Shavuot. The contrast between the somberness of Yad Vashem and Mount Herzl and the liveliness of the shuk before Shabbat made all of us understand how the Israelis and Jews are persistent and not discouraged.
From,￼ Gefilte Fish Family
Almog Golan Editor's note: Students are split into smaller "families" for some activities. Each family will be sending us a blog update every few days. Birthright Israel blog posts are written by individual students and may not represent the opinion or position of North Carolina Hillel.