Two Generations Later

(A post by one of my Nativ participants on the TimesofIsrael.com Blog. I was a staff member on this trip to Poland in January. Her words beautifully sum up my experience as well.)

There’s snow everywhere, as far as my eye can see, covering the ground and the 17,000 stones that memorialize the hundreds of thousands of my people that were murdered here. The slushy remnants of yesterday’s flurry is seeping into my boots, and my feet can feel the chilly dew through my three layers of socks.

Around me is destruction. The death of a civilization. The calculated cleansing because the right to live became a question for us, no longer a given. Treblinka has no remorse, nothing to comfort us. The eerie silence tortures my mind as I tried to picture what happened here, fighting back tears as I realize that had I been here, one of these stones would have been the only memory of my life left on earth.

I take in the horror in total shock, my body aching from the fatigue of being here, seeing these sites around Poland for days. I think back to Auschwitz, where I numbly walked through one of the largest human killing machines in history and saw faded photographs of entire families that were wiped out in madness. I picture the yeshiva of Lublin, once a great center for Torah scholarship and now reduced to half a bookcase of Talmud. I see the concentration camp Plaszow, which has now been turned into a park with a memorial. I remember Majdanek, where the Holocaust came to life for the first time, where I stood sobbing outside of the gas chambers because it was all too real, too vivid. The Shoah was no longer a collection of stories or a collective history, it was right before my eyes. All this time, everywhere I went, one thought ingrained itself into my mind, deepening the sense of hopelessness I felt: How did we survive this?

Source: Two Generations Later
By: R
achel Mitchell

I’m sitting next to a terrorist

A few days ago, a Palestinian terrorist boarded a bus in Jerusalem and set off a bomb. This man was trying to kill innocent people on their way to work, home, or the store. By the grace of g-d, no one was killed, but 21 people were injured in the attack.

So why am I blogging about this attack?

Jerusalem Bus Bombing

Firefighters look on as two buses burn in Jerusalem. Police launched an investigation into the incident, April 18, 2016. (Israel Police)

Well, I’m currently in a hospital ICU with one of my group participants. Two rooms down from his, is the terrorist the bombed the bus on Monday and two more rooms away is another terrorist. The second guy is the one that stabbed an off duty soldier in Rami Levi grocery store about a month ago. I have a strange feeling inside that I can’t exactly explain…I’ve seen their faces, I’m just feet away from two very dangerous terrorists that tried to kill innocent Israelis. There are soldiers, border patrol, and cops around so I feel safe, but I still have a very strange feeling.

I do know what I think about the whole situation though. What I see is amazing and probably very surprising for most people. There are Jewish Israeli doctors and nurses treating them both, the same doctors and nurses treating my participant. One of them almost died this morning, the staff rushed in and revived him. Yes, they treated him like any other patient. This is the most upclose proof that I live and belong to one of the most moral countries in the world. What is happening in this hospital happens all the time. Why? Because at the end of the day, we are all the same, human beings. Yes, I hope that these terrorists never see the light of day and that they are fully punished for what they have done. And I know that will happen, because I life in a democracy.

Israel is the Jewish State, but it is also a democracy. We have separation of powers, rights for all, and a just legal system. If these terrorists live, then they will have their day in court. To all the people that believe that Israel is an apartheid state or something other than a democracy, I say come to an Israeli Hospital. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Israelis, Palestinians, Tourists, and Terrorists are being treated. The doctors are  Jewish and Arab, all working together to save lives. How beautiful? How crazy?

I don’t know how I feel, but I do know how I think. I know that we as Jews and Israelis, care about life.

Am Yisroel Chai! Love live the Jewish State and People!

7:00pm Update: The terrorist has died. 

As soon as he died and was taken out. The room felt as something dark and heavy left. No words… Sad that this guy was only 19 years old, the same as my participant in the next room over. Not sad that he died, but that he has been manipulated to hate. Read More… The world needs to stand up against Hamas.