by Matthew Goldkind
Yesterday night started Tishah B’Av (the day that the 10 spies came back with a negative report about Israel, the day both temples were destroyed, and the day the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492), which also makes it a fast day. On our way to The Western Wall, we were looking for a place to sit and hear Eicha, the megillah that is read on Tishah B’Av, and out of nowhere we ran into a friend of the Tesslers, Pamella Klaymen, who had last year’s group over for Shabbat lunch. She was headed to another place to hear Eicha, but told us we could go to the roof of her house to look at the Temple Mount as we prayed. It was amazing that in the middle of the Jewish Quarter we ran into her just as we were looking for a good place to commemorate the day. There is no spot on earth to see the exact location of where the temple stood like the spot where we sat and heard Eicha. We then each went over how the trip has influenced us and what we are going to take from it. It was a pretty powerful experience.
The next day, we got up a little later than usual. We went to the Menachem Begin museum. It was very interactive and told the story of his life. The Tessler’s cousins joined our bus ride as we met with a Holocaust survivor in a city called Shoham, who told us his stories and how he survived 11 different concentration camps by playing the accordion in the death camp orchestras. We also went to the house of a friend of the Tesslers, who is the Chief Rabbi of Shoham and explained a little bit about the city.
When we were at the hotel, we rested and continued our fast. Just a few hours ago, we finally broke our fast. We ended the last night of our trip talking about our favorite times in Israel and thanking other people on our trip at an Italian restaurant. It felt like we started the end of our trip with a meaningful bang.