Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yad Vashem

Today I went to Yad Vashem-- the Holocaust Museum. It was a sobering day--definitely good, but not always enjoyable. Images, videos, music, voices, and salvaged items from murdered victims all worked together to allow our senses to experience one of the greatest stories of suffering in human history. As I walked in, I was struck by this quote on the wall: "For a country is not just what it does — it is also what it tolerates." I remember standing and staring at a huge pile of shoes--some so tiny they could only fit a small child-- all of which were stolen from Jews before they entered the gas chambers. I read stories and saw pictures of the grotesque medical experiments done on Jews, and saw videos of emaciated concentration camp victims being thrown into mass graves. Survivors told their stories on film, fellow visitors around me cried, and I walked around in horrified awe of total human depravity. My experience at the museum helped me understand why so many Jews want to call Israel is part of reclaiming their identity after such a tragedy.

Tomorrow we leave for a four-day field study in Jordan, which in Bible times included the lands of Bashan, Gilead, Ammon, Edom, and Moab. This is our last field study before going to Egypt in December. Where has the time gone?

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