An emotional rollercoaster day. We started off with a tour of old city, starting out at Jaffa Gate, ..it's mezzuza was made from bullets in the 1947 and 1967 wars. Travelled through the Armenian Quarter, to the Jewish quarter. At the Aish Centre the inspirational speaker Nili Couzens prepared us for the Kottel. She spoke of the 3 parts of prayer, praise, request and thanks, and of course of the power of a mother's love. With our prayers and hopes in our hearts and souls...and clutched in our hands (our own notes) we set off for the Kottel.
This was a unique experience to touch the stones of the place where every Jewish prayer uttered around the world travels, and ascends to its destination.
Then to Yad Vashem, it's structure is triangular in space, and cuts into the side of My Hertzel, just as the Holocaust does into the Jewish psyche. While I've been there before being with a very wise and knowledgeable guide David Susskind and the group provided an in depth perspective. My mother is a holocaust survivor as are bother my husband's parents, so the visit was of particular significance for me. I found the children's museum with names and ages of young lives cut short profoundly sad. Holocaust denial enrages me and reinforces that Holocaust awareness and education is vital.
At the cemetery for fallen soldiers we saw headstone of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Heart wrenching to see the ages some as young as 20. We were privileged to hear from a young soldier who is the daughter of one of the Israelis in our group.
Then a Harvard trained speaker Ben Shachar spoke about Israel and the sad fact of increased anti-Semitism throughout campuses in the USA. He referred us to websites and file so we can become better informed to be in a position to speak in support of Israel.