Today, February 21 was something special and truly breathtaking.
Today, February 21 was something special and truly breathtaking. I was filled with knowledge that I’d never thought I would be filled with before. The first location we ventured off to was a trip to the old city in Jerusalem. As I stepped out of the bus and took a look outside, I was hit with a very miraculous realization. I realized that this was the same city that had been called a polis. This shocked me completely because I had no idea what Greece had to do with Jerusalem, and then we were taught. Jerusalem has been turned into a Hellenistic city, which was a city that took in Greek traditions and cultures. Based off of this, we found out the the real story of Hanukkah was much more to what my peers learned in middle school. There was actually a civil war between the Greeks and the Jews, and as small and low on soldiers as the Jews were, they eventually won the war with a “miracle.” After the lessons, we entered the building were the Dead Sea Scrolls were kept and at the same time, learned history and their travels from America back to Israel, where they are kept to this day. Later, we hopped back on the bus and stopped in Jerusalem, near the Kotel, or Western Wall. There, we entered and walked towards the southern side of the Beit Hamikdash, which is now named the Dome of the Rock. The Romans had destroyed the Beit Mikdash, leaving only the Western Wall and the rest in ruins. We sat on the south side and were explained the layout: two entrances on the side, arches for important priests (Cohanim) and many little kiosks for the people who had come far and wide to pray in the Beit Hamikdash for special holidays like Hanukkah, Sukkot, and Shavuot. Finally, my favorite part of today, was taking the bus all the way up to Mount Yehuda. This was a special experience for me as a person and especially a Jew. As I sat up on the rocky terrain, alone, I felt a sense of relaxation and for once, peace. I did something I’ve never done before, and that was study things that I normally wouldn’t even take a minute to stare at. I looked up at the clouds and surveyed the hills in front of me and finally fell asleep on the rocks, unbothered by the outside world. I really got to reflect as a Jew because I felt lucky to even set a foot in this mountain and call Israel a state that accepts everybody and makes me feel at home. I will forever truly be grateful for this opportunity and will never forget it. Today was amazing in so many ways, and with more to learn tomorrow, the knowledge and information never stops flowing! - Sky