Defiance Travel Journal Day 8: Friday Jan. 4 2013, Yad Vashem
Our first full day in Jerusalem included a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. The architecture of the museum itself was stunning and very reflective of the overall message and mission of the museum. The museum is an incredible remembrance to the lives that were lost in the Holocaust, and getting to experience this memorial was an important part of our Birthright trip because it is an important part of Israel’s history. In many ways the state of Israel is a response to the Holocaust and the need for a Jewish state, so we were able to honor this horrific event in history and educate ourselves on our own collective past at this astounding site.
After the museum, our preparations for Shabbat began with various Shabbat rituals and a beautiful meal together. We also went to Shabbat services with other Birthright travelers from different groups and places around the United States. As we conducted services together overlooking Jerusalem, it was profound to notice that while in the United States it is customary to face east while praying because that is the direction of the Temple in Jerusalem, here we were actually in Jerusalem!