The main event of our New Years Day was our trip to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Despite the hail and cold weather, we had an unforgettable experience on our tour. We had a wonderful tour guide, who we could listen to through a head set and gave us detailed facts about the horrific events that transpired before, during, and after World War II. Yad Vashem channels a multitude of themes throughout the museum, including highlights of the heroes and the enemies, the triumphs and the failures, the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust. Another remarkable trait of this tribute is the thoughtful and powerful architectural design of the building.
The main section of the museum is one long hallway and visitors can see the entrance and exit at the same time when crossing through exhibits. This design represents the resilience of the Jewish people and their ability to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel during a time of pure darkness. In addition to the anecdotes about families fighting for survival and the heroic tales of people who bravely saved Jewish lives, a striking element of the museum was the Children's Memorial. As a separate building, the Memorial is a dark room made of mirrors, with five candles reflecting off of them, creating a vision of many lights glowing around you, as a voice lists names and ages of young lives tragically lost.
This day was definitely my favorite part of the trip so far. I hope to one day return to Israel so that I may learn even more about the history and culture of the Jewish people. I feel so fortunate to be able to experience this journey with so many amazing people. My connection to Judaism and my passion for this country has been fervently strengthened and I am forever grateful for this unparalleled opportunity.
Rachel Mayman '18
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,000 Jewish students on Grounds.