Tonight is our last night in Jerusalem... Also our last night in Israel.
This morning, while the children went to the zoo with Bubbe and Zeidi, the remaining four of us went for a guided walk through Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum.
Words cannot describe the experience. I was in tears before we made it down the first hallway. It wasn't the numbers or back story, but rather the individual tales... The photos and filmstrips of real men, women, and especially children who were violently and heartlessly corralled, and eventually slaughtered by the Nazis. Without mass media or internet, Hitler successfully persuaded a chilling number of people to fear those who are different, to try to banish then, and ultimately to try to destroy them.
We say "never again," not simply because of what happened in the 1940s... But rather because the risk remains.
The gut wrenching trip through Yad Vashem underscores the need for a Jewish state where the persecuted can live and flourish. It was painful but appropriate to wind down our Israeli tour with this somber and sobering experience.
FORTUNATELY, the day got brighter. We met up with the grandparents and grandkids who had enjoyed the zoo. After lunch we ventured out, skirting in and out of the west Bank until we made our way to a fantastic, and recently uncovered archeological dig. With picks and shovels we excavated fragments of pottery and even a few rare and unusual pieces of metal and jewelry. Both kids and adults enjoyed digging through the dirt in the cool shelter of an underground cave. After sifting through our findings, most of us crawled through another excavated cave, with multiple chambers lit only by candles, and separated by narrow passageways.
I am continually amazed at the complex engineering that took place even thousands of years ago.
This was the time and place of the Maccabees.
As I showered off back at the hotel, I watched the dirt run down the drain and I wondered: who else wore that dirt 2000 years before me?