We had an important day today. To begin, the organization Stand With Us presented the context of the modern state. The presentation provided a lot of information, including a 3,000-year-old history of Israel, as well as the current political climate. A major takeaway was that Israel is in a tough situation, and the future is unsure.
After, we entered the old city for the first time. Despite the political outlook of Israel that we were presented with in the morning, the city of Jerusalem is alive and well. Upon seeing the Western Wall, we recited the shecheyanu, a blessing that expresses gratitude for having reached this moment in time. The celebration was completed with grape juice and challah! To conclude the small service, we rejoiced and danced and sang Hatikvah - the Israeli national anthem that expresses the hope for self determination. The experience showed we maintain hope, just like the generations before us who were never even able to stand at this wall. Despite, the complexity of the conflict, we must hold onto our hope for a better future if we wish to see it realized.
- Matt Keitelman