Monday, March 24, 2008

Last Day in Jerusalem

Last Day in Jerusalem

Our morning on Sunday was spent at Yad Vashem. First we went to the Childrens Memorial and the Janus Korszchak statue and memorial. The multitude of lights representing all the children murdered glow with such intensity...the names and ages and countries are read with such sadness....the photographs that welcome us into the memorial, of the children with such searching eyes....

Our children left with the youth counselors while the rest of us went into the museum. (Children under 10 not allowed in the museum.)

I was just here six weeks ago and I went to Yad Vashem. I think that no trip, even seasoned travellers, should skip this place. I learned and saw different things and different stories than I have before. One story, about a Bosnian Muslim family who saved Jews...and then later, when things were bad in Bosnia, came to Israel. One of their children converted to Judaism and now a grandchild serves in the Israeli army. Incredible. So many stories to tell, so many we don't know at all...

After a quick lunch, we conclided our visit to Yad Vashem with a walk through the Valley of the Communities. Each family took a spool of ribbon and went to find withinthe valley the name or area from which their family comes. Then they unspooled the ribbon from their town back out into the main section. All those ribbons came together and were held by the children. Such a beautiful site - all those colorful ribbons, all those sweet children...our past and our future coming together to remind us WHY we come to Yad Vashem - so that we remember the past and build our future.

Then we headed down to Moshav Shafir, about an hour south and west to visit our Federation Partnership 2000 region, a region with which we have a pretty direct connection - exchanges of people and volunteers, gifts and's a really amazing and real partnership.

Israel is experiencing a heat wave! It was in the nineties and the heat is intense - way more than usual in March. This made our outdoor project a little uncomfortable but still pretty great - we helped to create a bike path using hoes and picks. We also heard a wonderful story from a woman who had been a teenager during the War of Independence - an experience in that very spot in Shafir. (More on this another day - it deserves a whole post!) And we met the Gerge Washington Carver of pomegranates - a man who has invented many uses for this famous fruit.

We did our work with some of the kids frpm Shafir and we also shared a pizza dinner with them. (Typical Israeli pizza toppings - corn, tuna, olive, anchovy!)

We headed back to Jerusalem where some of us headed out to enjoy the last hurrah of Shushan Purim....still great and crazy and fun!

And to the south!

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