From the very beginning, we talked on how there is no difference between any of the graves and on how it symbolizes the 'togetherness' and the unique same role and effect that each soldier has.
Today was a very significant day in my life. Today was the day that in the eyes of the those of the Jewish faith would see me as a man. Today was the day that I had my Bar Mitzvah, and at the age of 21, when this was my choice and my choice alone, not force by parents or expectations, it made it all the more powerful to me.
Finally, the we saw the curvaceous image of the Dead Sea appear from behind an edge of the mountain, far below in the valley. Driving down into the area of the Dead Sea you can see marked lines on the side of the mountain walls to your right that indicate the points of -100, -200, -300 meters below sea level. The color begins to define the sea as you get closer, turning from sun-drenched silver to an aquamarine that glows bright blue as you get closer.
Walking through Yad Vashem is nothing short of an incredibly moving experience. For some this was their first time at the memorial but for others, like myself, this was their second, third, or fourth time back. Everyone said, regardless of how many times they have visited Yad Vashem, they it was a powerful experience. Yad Vashem has done an amazing job creating a memorial and museum that really expresses the depth and importance of such a tragic set of events.
The views were unbelievable. It was as if each stop just kept outdoing the last. To finish off an amazing day, we got to experience what life was like as the Bedouin's, complete with sleeping in tents and getting to ride camels. It was a truly special way to welcome in 2016.
I really think today was when our group, #Bus222, began strongly bonding. I think by this time, we know one another--that is, our personalities, what makes “tick,” and who is charismatic as well as goofy (it is obvious at this point that I match this profile).
After the first three days together, Bus 222 feels like one big Mishpachah (family). It turns out that spending 72 straight hours with a group of people brings you all together. Who would have known?
We ended Shabbat overlooking the beautiful hills and then got to leave the Kibbutz for dinner.
Our group arrived in Tel Aviv, after a long flight, greeted by a line of Israelis still in their IDF uniforms dancing and singing like fools. It brought a huge smile on my face and immediately made me feel comfortable, at home, and excited to meet all of them.