Monday, February 15, 2016

Israel Day 4: Frankel and Yad Vashem

This morning we returned to the Frankel school for another visit. This was way unique in the sense that we were there during a country-wide pre-planned emergency drill. I'm talking IDF members there to assess everything as kids and staff alike made their way to the basement bomb shelter.

Bomb shelter. Yes. You read that right. While we have fire drills, tornado drills, and lock down drills, schools in Israel have bomb shelter drills. Let me tell you- when in the classroom, my students were generally well behaved during drills. These kids? They knew exactly what to do and did so without printing. 

When we asked the principal about it, she explained that while we practice lock downs and fire drills, our kids have never experienced an emergency situation like that. For the kids in Israel, though, this is part of their world. She further explained that a few years back, they had three actually emergency situations where the school had to spend an extended period of time in the shelter.....

From Frankel, we headed to Yad Vashem. We scheduled the timing so that there would be enough time to get lunch from the Yad Vashem cafeteria before our tour began. Yad Vashem is on the same grounds as Herzl museum, which was a beautiful place to explore. And while Yad Vashem was beautiful, it was hauntingly so. 

The museum has only been units current building for ten years. Prior to that it was on the grounds in a different location. The building itself is a triangle, one half of the Star of David. The layout is such that you must weave back and forth through the entire unfathomable story until you end up in the Hall of Names. 

Jackie, our tour guide, was wonderful. He shared such insight on what I see as the greatest tragedy of the century. It was eerie walking through the rooms, knowing that every si for artifact was real, an original, fund or donated by a survivor or their family or those researching. Every artifact but one. And despite the heart wrenching sadness in the museum, it wasn't until we stood in front of the Auswchwitz arch, the one that translates to "work will set you free" that tears fu ally leaked. And when we entered the Hall of Names, looking around at the faces and the testimonials maintained the welling over of tears in my eyes. When we get home I will look to see if my uncle is in the Hall of Names, and if he isn't, I will see how I can help my cousin, his granddaughter, make it happen while he is still alive to see it. 

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all quite spent. A brief rest before the evening, where we all wrapped up our last night in Jerusalem picking up any souvenir requests, sweet treats, and of course, shawarma on Ben Yehuda street before tucking in and packing up in preparation for tomorrow's adventure!

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