On the short bus ride to Yad VaShem (The Jewish People’s living memorial to the Holocaust), Lana asked us to imagine a room that would fit 100 people, then think of a space that holds 500 people, a 1000 people and maybe you have even been to a football game where 150,000 were in attendance, keep going and see if you can imagine a space that would hold 1,000,000 and then 6 million. It is mind-boggling, right? Our tour of Yad Vashem was certainly filled with darkness but on today’s tour I did not only feel the darkness of such a painful period of our history. I felt our history. Lana Zilberman shared with us facts about the Holocaust but more than that, our tour was about the people–the mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, sons, daughters who LIVED a life before it was cut short. We were reminded that if it were not for the decision of our ancestors to leave their homes to come to a new land, our lives would have been very different. Perhaps it would have been us we were memorializing today. Yad VaShem ends on a note of hope and light and sends us off with the clear message that we are responsible for each other and “never again” means nothing if we don’t do our share or even more than our share of working to end hatred and prejudice.
After lunch, we went the Hertzl museum (which was fantastic) and toured Mt. Hertzl, visiting the graves of Hertzl, the founder of world Zionist movement, Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres and other founding fathers and mothers of the State of Israel and we lit a yahrzeit/memorial candle at the graves of fallen soldiers.
It was a rough day. It was an inspiring day.
My son at Hertz’s tomb: