Sunday, 29 December 2013

Yad V'Shem

Last Thursday we went to Yad V'Shem. There were many girls who were never there before and I'm sure it was a , let's say, emotional and informative experience for them. Though this is my second time, the shock was as raw as any other.
We always hear the stories, but seldom do we get to see history before our eyes. There were three parts of my tour that stuck with me and I'd like to share.
When you first walk in there is a video playing of life before the war, death, hate and destruction. Jews were dancing the hora, they were laughing and smiling. It broke my heart. I knew how the story would end.
There was a simple picture of Nazi soldiers, sitting around and relaxing. This picture was put up next to a picture of similar soldiers shooting Jews into a huge pit in the ground. The horrendous part? The photographer, to get that angle, would have needed to be on top of the Murdered Jews in the pit.
Our guide said that the Nazis should not be validated by calling them monsters. Its true. If the Nazis are monsters then it is reasonable that they should do monstrous things. But no, they were human beings, the same ones who, in the next picture over, were laughing and smoking and writing to their families.
Our guide gave us 4 minutes to look around and I sat down in a bench that was from the Warsaw Ghetto. Above me was a Lamp from the ghetto as well. I sat there, surrounded by artifacts, and reflected on all the things I just saw, all the horrors I just witnessed.
You look around and you see all the advances in technology, all the humanitarian aid, all the kindness that is spread around the world. Yet, these people, with families, people who actually love them, and are able to love in return, were able to unquestionably attempt to exterminate a whole race of people, women and children included, and then, to document it, they stepped on their dead bodies to get the "perfect angle."
So sitting there, I decided on the person I want to be. It's crazy to think that I was inspired by such horror. They say that Jews are supposed to be a light upon the nations. I decided I want to be the best person I can be. A moral, just, caring, considerate, Torah oriented Jew. I am a Jew before anything else I realized. And I know that when other people come to this conclusion, to become the people they want to be, only then, when I become that person, will I be the one joining others laughing, smiling and dancing hora with my fellow Jews.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Thank you for being a screw up.

Being in Israel, and being away from your family is very hard. Not everyone who wants to be here has family backing them up. Some girls parents don't even want them to be here.  it can be very difficult if you don't have the support. Personally my mother is against my Jewish identity. She is disappointed by me and does not agree with my lifestyle. Its very painful to know that your mother can stop loving you because you happen to be happy. I spoke with my father about this and he had some very interesting words to say. He told me that he is a screw up. He told me that he isn't disappointed in me because he could not have done all the things that I do everyday at my age. He said that he was a screw up from a very early age and he admits that there about seven billion of them in the world. He says he is proud of me because I try and be a better person and I try to learn and I'm a Torah oriented Jew. He says that if a parent has any self confidence in themself what so ever , they will never be disappointed in their children. He told me that if a parent is living through their child they need to get a life. Life is what you make it he said. The only thing we can do is try and be the best we can be, by our standards, not anyone elses. My father told me that if a parent can get up in the morning, brush their teeth, look in the mirror and say that they have some self worth, they will never be disappointed in their children. Children are a blessing. I wanted to share this with everyone. Do not listen to the words of other people. If you are happy and content with yourself, even if your own parents don't agree, continue in the path you are going. All that matters is that you are happy with who you are. And I want to say thank you Dad for being proud of me and for being a screw up.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The beginning

I'm so sorry! I promised a lot of people in real life that I would post interesting stories and information while in Israel. I have been here about 2 weeks and have not yet posted anything about my trip.
So as breif of a summary as I can give:
The Plane Ride, Dun dun dun dun!!!
Let me start off with explaining my dilhemma. I'm pretrefied of heights. Flying therefore, is a little scary for me. A plane packed with Chassidim didn't help.
I was sitting on the back of the plane, thats just how it turned out. Also, turns out that this is the spot where they decide to daven. And there was slichos.
Whenever they would pass me, I had to lean to the woman who was sitting next to me. Why? Because I learned after the first time that if I wouldn't they would brush against my shoulder and I would be able to feel their butt cheeks. I wasn't very comfortable. That is the closest I have ever and hopefully will ever get to a chassid.
Fast forward: I have two roommates. The room is decent. Food is slightly less decent.
The Wedding: My cousin, an israeli actress, got married.
It was to say the least, gorgeous. I met all these famous people and even the Mayor of Jerusalem.
My great aunt didn't know one of my cousins who were in from America and thought he was my date. It was quite embarrassing for the both of us.
Rosh Hashana was nice. I was the first one to shul and the only one for a few hours. Everyday. I was even there before some of the Rabbis, which, honestly, I think my Papa should be proud of.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Letters from me to myself

The following is a letter I wrote to myself from the Kotel (Western Wall in Jerusalem). It arrived in the mail this morning:

"Let me remind you of something important that you better not forget! August 12th, midnight, you were at the  Kotel. And people were crying and laughing, and you- of course- were emotional. The Kotel is an emotional place. But the question is.... Why?
People cry and laugh because they realize how much we have accomplished. We have Israel! Not only HaAretz (The land), we have Jerusalem! But not only that! We have the Kotel!!!! And this is so exciting and we're so grateful, Thank You Hashem, SO much for all the berachos (blessings) in our life! Our ancestors fought so hard for what we have right now!
So we laugh and we cry and we don't even know what we should be crying about.
And that begs the question, what should we be crying about? Our failed relationships? Embarrassing moments, illness, spilled milk?
YES!!! We should!
ALL-  and I mean every single thing reminds us that we are still in exile!
But what do you mean? We have the Kotel! I have to ask, where's the Beit HaMikdash? Because all I see is some ugly gold thing defacing our holy spot, the spot where Yitzchak was purified as a korban (sacrifice). We're so close, and we stop to reflect what we have and we forget what we still need to accomplish!
All of your mitzvot (good deeds) bring Am Yisroel (the Jewish nation), one step closer to Moshiach (The messiah)! One little thing can change the world. 
So love everything Hashem created- even yourself- and remember Hashem is always there for you! There is ALWAYS a reason, you may just not see it!
P.S. You better be working on getting back or I'll be ashamed!


For those who are curious, I am working on returning to my home.