First stop Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum that is visited by every head of state who visits Israel. One of our participants broke down “I can’t stand the hate. How can people do this to one another?” He broke down in tears, needing to take a break since so many emotions rode to the surface. “Israel can’t even put stamps in our passports. Why has nothing changed since then?” So many questions arose.
A major theme of the museum is the idea that everyone has a name. It’s not about a number – six million – it’s about six million people. “I learned from my experience at Yad Vashem that I have a name. I am not the number the VA gave me. I have a name, I’m proud of my name. No one can take it away from me”, stated Greg from Providence, RI.
We continued on to Tel Aviv where we rode bicycles with Etgarim, an organization that works with disabled people of all ages and of all challenges. Their goal is to get the disabled out of their homes and out of hiding, taking them outside to do activities, making them part of society. It was a challenge for many of our participants to get on bicycles. “I’m so happy I did. It was a bit nerve-wracking in the beginning but I feel great that I did”, said Peter, a participant from Texas.
Off to the Sea of Galilee for a restful Shabbat and our journey up north!