Today was emotionally exhausting. After breakfast, we went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. It affected me more than the US Memorial, although that could be due to the seriousness of the group dynamic. The Hall of Names was particularly powerful; a circular room dedicated to the remembrance of the lives of the victims, with a large empty section for those who will never be found. The architecture was a little much, with the exhibit hall encased underground in concrete but opening on an expansive view of Jerusalem. Others found it moving, but I thought it bordered on cliche. Also, the exhibits on the hardship of life in the ghetto behind imposing walls, failed to acknowledge that Israel is currently building to enclose other communities.


Then we went to Mt Herzl, the military cemetery and a memorial to the founder of Zionism. Ivtak showed us the grave of his friend, an American to who rushed back to Israel at the start of the Second Lebanon War. He was killed after paratrooping behind lines and searching houses for Katyushas. After the heavy day, we went to a bar that was rented out for us. Brandy taught me more about the Napoleonic code than I’ll ever need to know, and Craig pissed in a drain. Good times.