Only a ten-minute walk to Yad Vashem from our hostel, there was a real beauty in seeing hordes of us casually chatting, strolling and laughing through the beautiful streets of Jerusalem. Falling in with the city’s regular morning hustle seemed indicative of the innate homeliness we feel here, even for those who have never visited before.

One might argue that after having spent a week feeling foreign and misplaced in Poland, our apparent contentment is merely a result of the change in scenery, but this peaceful sentiment amongst the group should not be misunderstood as circumstantial. The ease we feel here in Israel is much like that of kicking off your shoes, burying your head in the fridge and falling onto the couch after returning home at the end of a long day… that simple joy in knowing you are finally and simply home.

Soldiers on the street warmly greeted us, asking where we were from and how long we’d be in Israel for. Lending warm smiles to the faces that passed us; we arrived at the beautiful and awe inspiring landscape of Yad Vashem. The museum itself is magnificent; its architectural structure formed in the shape of a triangle is symbolic of the weight memory bears upon our soldiers in relation to the Holocaust.

The museum’s three major sources of light are from above, and at either end of the long dark tunnel, representative of the light of G-d, the light of European Jewry that was extinguished, and the light of Jerusalem embodying our future dreams.

Broaching the topic of the Holocaust once again is difficult, but necessary. With an endless amount to learn about the dark chapter in mankind’s history, the visit to Yad Vashem was both educational and cathartic, providing a sense of closure to our journey in tribute and remembrance of the Shoah. Beginning the next chapter in which we write the story of our people, we prove that we will never be silent witnesses to the story of our people.

Exploring the museum, having a seminar on life after the Shoah and entering into what is called the room of questions where experts across a number of fields have answered a plethora of philosophical, historical and religious questions relating to the Holocaust served as a means of furthering our knowledge and furthering our depth of thought in Jewish History.