Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Day to Reflect

Each day on this Birthright trip has been unique in its own way. I have connected to my identity as a proud, Jewish American and I couldn't be happier than I am now. Today will forever stand out as a highlight of this trip to me personally. From last night I knew along with the rest of the group that our trip to Yad Vashem and Mount Herzl would be unlike anything we've experienced so far.

The Holocaust is a scar that cuts deep in every Jewish citizen around the world. I have learned about it for as long as I can remember. No Matter who it is the Holocaust always elicits some sort of response of emotion whether it's anger or sadness, frustration or fear. To have it not do so would be inhumane. One of the biggest facts that people teach about it is the fact that through that period in time, six million Jews lost their lives in the most unimaginable ways. I have known about that number since early Hebrew School, but until today there was just no way to put that number into perspective.

At the beginning of the tour, our guide asked us to visualize an apple. Then 10 apples, and the number kept getting greater and greater. We were told to stop her after the number became too got to visualize. We only got to 200!

The point of the visualization was to show that it is near impossible to comprehend just how much six million really is, and that that number is completely overwhelming. When trying to put it in perspective, I've always been in awe with that number but I have never really felt the true immensity of it until the end of the tour in the hall of names.

Walking into that room I immediately was floored by the gigantic circle of books containing the names of everyone who lost their lives. It is a breathtaking sight to be there and look up at the dome of hundreds of thousands of peoples' faces. For twenty years I have never come close to felling the overall immensity of the number of people who lost their lives. Except for this room, the hall of names puts the 6,000,000 lost into complete perspective and that's why it struck such a chord with me.

Etan Lubin

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