It is now Sunday, May 11th, and we are now unfortunately half way through a trip that's available oncee in a lifetime.
After another amazing Israeli breakfast, it was time to start the long day ahead. The first stop on our itinerary was Israel's world renown Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. As we approached the museum, many of us were unsure as to what kind of experience we would have in such a special place and what we would actually see.
At the museum we were lucky enough to be led by a wonderful tour guide that gave us a better understanding of the Holocaust explaining the structure of the building to what each subsection meant in that time. As we walked through the museum, there were many moments of sadness and pain; however, the fact that we stood amongst our friends, both our peers and soldiers provided us with a feeling of comfort. In entirety, the museum itself was a special experience, but there was one section in the museum that truly allowed a majority of us to feel something, and this was the children's museum section.
As we entered the children's museum, it was obvious that something was different. The lights were turned off and the only guiding lights in the room were little sparks of light. It seemed as if there were thousands upon thousands of lights in the room surrounding us. Meanwhile, there was a voice recording reading the names of various children who perished in the Holocaust. Each of us were told to focus on one child as we continued on our journey. I heard the name Yaakov, a boy of just 16. I am sure that each of us has gained something from what we experienced at Yad Vashem.
After Yad Vashem, we quickly grabbed lunch before heading to the military cemetery at Mt. Hertzl. We walked through the cemetery and viewed various grave sites, such as Yitchack Rabin: the first Prime Minister of Israel, and Chana Senesh: a famous paratrooper. It was an extra special experience at the cemetery because it is a military cemetery, and we were lucky enough to have eight incredible Israeli soldiers accompanying us on our journey, and each of these soldiers has a story of their own from their service.
At the end of the tour, we stopped at a special gravesite. This gravesite was the friend of one of our soldiers, Orel. Orel served in the same place in the army that his friend who perished, and it definitely put a pit in our stomachs as we listened to him speak about his friend. Prior to leaving, we sang the Hatikva in unity.
The next stop of the day was Shuk Machane Yehuda (the market). There, we were able to run around and purchase all things touristy, from candy to Tzahal shirts, and jewelry! After the Shuk, we returned to our hotel and we had dinner. Next, we had two people come and speak to our group about Gift of Life; we were able to sign up to be stem cell donors if we are ever needed.
The last part of out evening concluded with a speaker coming in to give us updates on Israel, to give us an understanding of what exactly is happening in Israel and it's bordering countries.
I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store :)
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