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Our Jewish Identity

After a quick breakfast, we took the bus to an overlook of Jerusalem. We took lots of photos and said the Shehechayanu for our first time in Jerusalem together. Next, Bar gave us a tour around the old city of Jerusalem. We talked about the history and ethnic division in the city and tried the sesame bagel with za’atar! We walked through the artists market and meat market in the Christian quarter and saw everything from monkey brain to hand carved chess sets.

After that, we walked by the Western Wall and heard several bar mitzvahs happening at once and saw hundreds of Jews from all over the world. We had an incredible lunch at an Iraqi restaurant then had time to shop at the Machane Yehuda market.

Next, we went to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) where Rabbi Stern led us on a tour. While many of us had studied the Holocaust in the past, this experience was very unique and powerful. He helped us understand the importance of Israel as a Jewish state and treating other minority groups with respect. Throughout this trip we have experienced a feeling of acceptance and the joyfulness of Israel, while also coming to recognize the pain that goes along with Jewish identity and history.

Finally, for dinner we went to a beautiful nature reserve for an amazing catered dinner by Puzzle. We sat around a nice campfire and enjoyed food and song with each other and our friends from Puzzle!

Mariel Shapiro, Lily Paltrowitz, and Ben Goldblatt

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