BBYO Passport: A BBYO Travel Experience

BBYO Passport: A BBYO Travel Experience

I'm Finally Feeling Something Today

Posted on 07/19/2013 @ 08:14 PM

Tags: 2013

Today, we visited arguably the two most emotionally and physically draining sites in all of Israel, covering everything from the horrific events of the Holocaust to the heroic tales of Michael Levin... Shadowing the day in a somber mist.

I've been to the Holocaust museum in DC thrice, and it really wasn't that different than Yad Vashem. The eerie atmosphere, the disturbing sound of only shuffling footsteps, and symbolic concrete infrastructure... All synonymous with the other museum. However, what was truly different was emerging from the other end of that long triangular tunnel and seeing the Old City of Jerusalem, a tacit "screw off" to all those opposed to the Jewish existence on this planet. With that victorious realization, the group was able to make it through Har Herzl.

On top of that mountain, filled with the remains of Israel's greatest leaders, lays Michael Levin. That was when the cemetery became personal for me. I have no family in Israel... My great grandparents came from Russia, Germany, and France after World War I, and never considered making Aliyah, so I didn't connect with most of the people buried there. I realized their historical significance, but there was no true emotional tie. However, I had a very strong connection with Michael Levin. He was a Philly boy, just like me. His grave was littered with Temple U student ID cards and Phillies paraphernalia, and at that moment I connected with him, which was a strangely unique, yet magical experience I will never forget.

I'm finally feeling something today. Without any discussion of God or the Bible, I was able to connect with a Jewish boy from Philly who gave his life for his homeland, in the most significant city to my ancestors, myself, and for generations of my family to follow.

- Evan Samuel Garber

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