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Day 7

Monday, 16 January, 2012 - 4:46 pm

 Yesterday was a day of somber reflection in the city of Jerusalem. We began at Mt. Hertzl, the Israeli Army’s cemetery, where we remembered those lost protecting Israel. Israel represents more than just a country in the Middle East. It is the Jewish homeland. No matter what is occurring around the world the Jews will always have a place to call home, a place where we all belong, and yesterday we had the chance to respect and honor those lost protecting such a home. After hearing stories of bravery and friendship from our Israeli friends we reached the end of the cemetery, where yet again we reflected. This time, we reflected on the time spent with our soldier friends, for they had to finally depart from us and return to the army after five unbelievable days. We shared goodbyes and tears, exchanged information, and promised to keep in touch. We knew the trip would not be the same without them, but we are truly grateful for the time we had with them and the incredible memories that we created together.

                The next stop on our day of remembrance and emotion was Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum. There we remembered the worst occurrence in our people’s history. We heard personal stories of the account, saw actual footage of the horrors that took place, observed authentic pieces taken from history, but most importantly reflected on the strength and continuance of the Jews in spite of a history of persecution and genocide. Personally, the most profound moment during the tour was at the end at the section dedicated to the children murdered during the Holocaust. About 1.5 million children under the age of 18 were slaughtered during the attempted extinction, and the thought of the terror of losing a brother or a child truly impacted me. After concluding our tour we returned to our hotel for a lecture from the David Project.

                 The David Project is an association dedicated to informing young people on the conflict and situation in the Middle East. We learned about the tension at the Gaza Strip and the West Bank between Palestine and Israel. We viewed media reports of current threats and updates issued by Middle Eastern leaders. The experience opened my eyes to the threat of war in the Middle East, the American involvement in the conflict, but most importantly the importance of protecting Israel from terrorist threat.

                The evening concluded with one final somber reflection. We remembered the Green Bay Packers’ triumphant season which ended last night at the hands of the New York Giants. The Sconnies wept while the coasties cheered, but regardless you gotta tip your hat to Aaron Rodgers and the incredible season they had.

                The extremely emotional day was intense and important, powerful and humbling, and we will always remember those lost protecting the Jewish land, at the hands of the Nazis, and to the mighty Giants.

Still a very happy Jew     -          Evan


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