For our last two full days in Israel and the final Shabbat, we had some of the most meaningful experiences of the trip. After waking up, we had our last regular tefillah in the holy land and in the city of Jerusalem, and then ate breakfast.

We proceeded to enter the bus and had a quick drive to Yad Vashem. There we learned about the brutal atrocities committed against our people, had misconceptions cleared up, and learned about the hope, fear and will to survive our people had in the ghettos.

After the tour of the main museum, we visited the children’s memorial inside the campus. When they wanted to create the memorial it was hard to figure out exactly how and what to put inside it. They ended up with a hallway of mirrors with just a few candles creating an infinite pool of flickers of lights to represent the 1.5 million children who perished in the Shoah. As we walked through, we heard them say names and ages of some of the victims.

After the museum, we went to Ben Yehuda street for a final pizur lunch and our last shopportunity. We got delicious food, last minute gifts, and any personal trinkets and souvenirs. We also got 10 shekel or less gifts for a “mystery maccabee” / “Shabbat Buddy,” or as Hillary called it, our “Sha-buddy” within the class.

We then had a bit of down time to relax, call family and prep for Shabbat. We all met in the lobby and walked to the Kotel and exchanged our gifts and the notes we wrote for each other.

At the kotel, we entered our notes and those of our schoolmates back in Cleveland into the holy wall. We also had a few minutes to pray a little bit before our Kabbalat Shabbat service. At Kabbalat Shabbat we ran into a former classmate, Aiden Golub. We didn’t know he was in Jerusalem, but it was an amazing surprise and reunion.

The atmosphere once Shabbat started changed from somber to happy instantaneously. There was singing and dancing and rejoicing everywhere. We went back to the hotel, had dinner, and prepared for our last Shabbat in Israel.

The next morning we woke up after a thorough sleep in, had a quick breakfast, and went to shul. Most of the class went to the Great Synagogue, the national synagogue for Israel, for services while myself and another classmate chose a nearby conservative synagogue.

When we got back we played a few games while waiting for lunch and once lunch was over we changed and went to a park with more of next years’ shin shinnim.

We then had some down time to take a Shabbos Shnatz (nap) and pack before dinner. After dinner we did our final havdalah together by singing songs and welcoming in the week ahead. Everyone went around and said their favorite part of the trip, which was bittersweet. Once we welcomed in the new week, we walked to a dessert place called the Waffle Bar where we got to order incredible gourmet waffles, crepes, or fondue for a final dessert party.  We had amazing food and made toasts and received funny awards from Ms. Henkin and Sheri. We returned to the hotel to pack and sleep, which was a perfect end to trip of a lifetime.

Click here to view more photos from the Israel Trip.
Click here to view the other 2019 Israel Trip Blogs

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Ben Christ

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