Day 10: Lehava, Israel - Sarah Miller


Having had a full night’s sleep, we woke up filled with gratitude, yet nervously anticipating today's adventures. The breakfast buffet held everything possible to the most open imagination: salads, cheese, pastries, breads, fish, shakshuka, fresh juices, yoghurt, eggs and a hot beverage station. We were all over the moon with the options provided to us, flabbergasted with the array of mouth-watering foods available. 

Yad Vashem has a significant status as being Israel's official Holocaust museum, dedicated to preserving and upholding the memory of our dead brothers. After Poland this is an appropriate and meaningful way to complete this part of the IST experience, in the land of our redemption.

As we walked through the walkway of carob trees dedicated to the Righteous Amongst the Nations, who selflessly risked their lives for the sake of those who were relentlessly being persecuted, we all felt overwhelming appreciation for their selfless actions. The more factual part of the museum was in a step-by-step manner so that we travelled through the timeline of the Holocaust from the Nuremberg Laws, establishment and sufferings of the ghettos, right until liberation of the camps. One of the last pieces of information that we were provided with was a collection of videos of the conditions there. Every one of us was mortified watching piles of our deceased relatives being thrown into pits carelessly. At the end, we saw the reflection of hundreds of our siblings’ faces in an indoor well, indicating our eternal existence and persistence in symbolic life-sustaining water.

The Children's Memorial was built in the memory of Uziel Spiegel who was murdered at Auschwitz at the age of just two and half. There, we contemplated the inordinate masses of innocent children our age and younger who were slaughtered prematurely. Standing in a dark mirror-filled room, we felt the impact of how drastic a change every life lost could have made. Each light reflected symbolic of a human life.

We returned to the hotel already having had lunch in between activities and tours of the museum and had some free time. Some of us spent this time swimming in the indoor hotel pool which was a great relief from the intensity of the morning.

Just before we moved to having free time on Ben Yehuda Street, we had a short tochnit about the debate relating to the correlation between the Shoah and establishment of the State of Israel. We investigated six aspects of the country’s security, national history, culture and people.

Shawarma, laffas, frozen yoghurt, Bamba and Shoko Besakit were flying. Moriah, Masada, BJE and Kesser Torah all hugging, chatting and catching up, coincidentally having free time at the exact same location together. It was the best feeling to be able to relax in an Israeli open scene, meeting up with ex-madrichim, Sherut girls, Hesder boys, family and friends. Everyone was buzzing and enjoying the chilled vibe.

We then moved on to the annual Moriah Alumni event where the band tour played for everyone. As always, Moriah shone and our band was incredible. It was wonderful to be able to catch up with all of our friends who we hadn't seen for the past two weeks!

Our physical journey from Poland to Israel made me truly appreciate the vibrant and thriving Jewish community and continuation of our culture and legacy as a people and nation, despite our oppression throughout history.

Day 11: Netzach, Israel - Rachel Treisman

Day 10: Netzach, Israel - Jessica Curtis