Today was our last day in Jerusalem. Since no mission trip ever bypasses the Holocaust Museum, we stopped at Yad VaShem to pay homage to its victims and heroes. I have been feeling lately that I finally came to terms with the Holocaust and was ready to close this chapter of our history. Apparently, not so fast. I moved on, but can not yet walk out of a Holocaust memorial dry-eyed. What makes the strongest impact on me is the faces on prewar photographs. Perhaps, because deep down inside I know that had I lived then, it would be my face and the faces of my children gracing the walls commemorating the victims.
But out of the darkness of the memorial I freely walked out into the living and breathing city glowing in bright sunshine and stretching widely before my eyes – the strongest affirmation that though we lost many battles, we won the war.
Thus charged, we proceeded to the region called Yoav, an association of kibbutzim and moshavim in central Israel. Yoav is a wide area of verdant hills and pastures punctuated by Jewish settlements. We visited some man-made caves dating back to the Hellenistic times before heading for dinner at one of the kibbutzim. When new construction is started in Israel, the first thing to do is to clear the antiques inevitably found in the ground, and only then build – there are so many remains of ancient cultures buried here!
After dinner, we said good bye to the rest of our group and headed for Eilat.