Written by GIVEr: Rena Machinsky
As I reflect on all of my unique experiences from today, I have realized it was one of the most emotionally impactful days on GIVE for me, personally.
As we loaded the bus at 7:45 AM, I knew the long day ahead of us would be one filled with many different emotions. First, we headed to the Emunah center, an organization that helps underprivileged children by providing them with a safe, warm environment. There, as we learned about how the organization works, I was truly amazed by how much the administration of Emunah does for the children that go there. Following this eye opening sneak peak of the behind the scenes of the center, it was finally time to meet the kids! We split up into groups and entered the classrooms. Right away, we began to dance, sing, jump, and even made chocolate with the children. It sounds cliche, but it was magical. The biggest smiles consumed both the kids’ faces as well as ours, as the room was automatically filled with laughter. It was inspiring for me to see every GIVEr create a connection with each child in their own, special way. By the time we left Emunah, the bond between the children and us was unbreakable.
Next, we took off for an experience that would be drastically different from the one we had just had. Our next stop would be Yad Vashem, the famous holocaust memorial museum located in Jerusalem. After learning that it ranks as the third most visited site in Israel, I knew that Yad Vashem would have to be absolutely mind blowing. I was correct. For me, as a first timer, it was an emotional roller coaster. As I walked through the museum, I could not help but to analyze the tragedies and terror that were inflicted upon the previous generations of our nation, the Jewish people. It became so much more real for me as artifacts such as pictures, letters, dolls, shoes, train tracks, and posters surrounded me. Not just for me, but for everyone around me, Yad Vashem was definitely a memorable experience.
After Yad Vashem, we were soon on our way to our third activity of the day, Mt. Hertzel. There, we again had an emotional experience as we learned about the many soldiers that fell for our country, Israel. We spoke about a few specifically, learning of their bravery and heroism. A beautiful message that I learned from this cemetery was one of equality, as each soldier, no matter how high or low their rank may have been, is buried along side one another as equals.
Finally, we finished off our action packed day with a basketball game against our fellow NCSY summer program, Michlelet. Although they technically beat us by the end of the game, I believe we won by having fun!
I hope as GIVE comes to an end, the rest of my days here will be as incredible as today was.