Hey, Everyone! We just finished up the 7th day of our trip, and it was phenomenal. I believe we experienced an event that will become a price of history. It is truly an honor to be a part of something so significant, something that is threaded into the Israeli community.
- Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast
- Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
- Mamilla Street
I don’t have many pictures from today, but that is what happens when you are so absorbed in the moment that you can’t break away to focus on the quality of your photo because you are already so focused on your experience. This morning, we had the incredible honor to be a part of the first government affiliated Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. Over 58 countries were represented by different people in attendance. Speakers like Michele Bachman, MPs from all over the world, members of Knesset and pastors from all over the world prayed and read scripture. This event was to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem.
The next part of our day was spent at Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Rememberance Center. Until I sat down to write today’s blog, I did not realize how fitting it was for us to do both of these things on the same day.
We walked through a guided tour at the Holocaust Museum. Our guide was the grand-daughter of a holocaust survivor. She said that everyday when she would come home from school, her grandmother would ask her what good thing happened to her today. On the days when she didn’t have anything good to share, her grandmother would ask about her day and point out the good things that went unnoticed.
The picture below is the only photo I took after we entered the facility. They asked for no pictures, but at various points in the tour, it was okay. But I couldn’t. Even if I had captured this experience in photos, it would not have cast even the slightest shadow on what Yad Vashem has to offer. They building itself was designed so that when you walked you could see the exit, but the tour was set up in a zig zag pattern, and each time you entered the hallway for the next section, it was like you could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The hallway was in a triangle shape to give off the effect of the walls coming in on you, and this was to help us experience the most microscopic comparison to the pressure of having nowhere to turn.
Towards the end of the tour, we walked into a room where they are currently still trying to find the names an information of all who were killed in the Holocaust, over 6 million people. This photo isn’t mine, it’s from a friend who was in our tour, and it shows a portion of the room that is housing this information that has already been collected and verified. At the center of the room is an exhibit where you have 2 choices: to look up, or to look down. When you look up, you see a beautiful display of photos, names, and information of those who perished, and this is to signify the 5 million people who have been identified allowing us to remember them. When you look down, you see a deep, dark pit filled with water at the bottom, and this is to represent the 2 million people who will likely never been known by name or photo again, and it signifies what it looks like to be forgotten. It shows the tragedy of mass genocide and the most horrific part of humanity. But it also allows you to choice: to forget or to remember.
After the room, we walked through the children’s memorial where they explained how over 1.5 million children were killed. It was a dark room with a single lit candle to represent every individual child and baby killed. I completely lost it in there. There are no words to describe it. Overwhelmed, unfathomable, are only a few that come to mind. Although, it is just truly incomprehensible.
At the end of the tour, I was at a complete loss for words. I can’t imagine visiting Jerusalem and not making time for this. It’s as raw and as real as it can possibly get, but you walk away with the perspective that: it’s hard to hear and see and know, but we don’t get to not look because it’s too difficult. We don’t get to sit back and not talk about it because it’s too difficult. We have to remember to honor the Jewish people and to prevent history from repeating itself. On the one hand, it really makes you lose all faith in humanity, and on the other, it reminds you how God is the only being capable of salvation and redemption.
I walked into this experience thinking that I knew about the Holocaust. After all, I had learned about it in school, watched movies and documentaries about it, and I had talked about it with many of my friends and family over the years. But, when I walked through Yad Vashem, I realized that I knew only a small percentage of the events that took place during the Holocaust. I knew the facts, but I didn’t understand them until I was here. The entire world, every single country and government turned their back on the Jewish people due to an extreme hatred. Only a small number of individuals made an effort to help the ones who were being taken, abused, and ultimately murdered.
I left with a very conflicted heart battling with the thought: what would I have done? I would like to naturally assumed I would have been one of the few that helped, but when you think about ratio of people who turned a blind eye to the ones who risked their lives to help, it is shattering. It destroys hope and faith in humanity, but it installs faith in God.
We finished of our day on Mamilla Street in downtown Jerusalem. This is a really popular place for shops, dinners, and just being out with friends! We walked through the shops looking for littel treasures. I found the most incredible ring, and I’ll post pics tomorrow when I pick it up! We also enjoyed a few bites of the best icecream in Israel!
Stay tuned for tomorrow! We have a packed day full of fun and visits to major historical and Biblical sites. Check in on our social media pages to see videos and photos during the trip!
– the Wife