Today was the last day of our incredible journey from dark to light. I am confident in speaking for everyone when I say that today was a wonderful end to our trip. We woke up and had breakfast and services while overlooking Jerusalem behind our hotel. Afterwards, we did yoga and guided meditation which gave us time to reflect on the past two weeks. We packed, had free time at the pool, and ate lunch.
We left our final hotel and headed off to Mt. Hertzl. The heat was bearable and felt nice on our skin after the Midwest-like weather in Poland. We learned about everything Theodore Hertzl did for Israel and visited an innumerable amount of graves of soldiers who died fighting for the beautiful land of Israel. Seeing the framed smiling faces of 18 and 19 year olds sitting on top of their own graves made me feel even more grateful to have experienced the past week in Israel.
We left beautiful Mt. Hertzl and drove over to the port city of Jaffa. It was absolutely stunning to look out into the seemingly never-ending Mediterranean Sea and to learn about the history within the city. We ate the best Shawarma and fresh fruit smoothies on the beach and took in our final experiences in our homeland. As we drove to the Ben-Gurion Airport, we took time to thank our guide, Boaz, our security guard, Omri, and our amazing chaperones, Betsy, David, and Abby.
As I am sitting here at our gate getting ready to fly back home, I think we have all taken away many valuable things from this trip. The most important lesson in my eyes is that we must now be the voices of those who have perished. We are the ones who must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves– the ones who had a favorite pair of shoes and high school sweethearts, family traditions and who loved singing in choir class. We are now the voices of the ones who were lost before we were born, and we must carry on their story.
-Jillian Blumberg, Mason High School