October 15th: Post from Christina
Another beautiful day here, but our guide Julian has posed the question:
Is a place still beautiful when evil things have happened there, or are happening?
The answer for me is clear, God made this world a beautiful place and nothing humans do can take away the intrinsic beauty and holiness of a place. Zakiya described it as a core of beauty with a crust of ugliness, break through the crust and the beauty is still there. So back to my point, despite the violence and the evil rhetoric and the stupidity, this was a beautiful day.
We spent the morning at Yad Vashem. This time I made it through. At our last visit I was unprepared. While I had known the numbers and many of the details, the profundity of the decimation of Poland, Jews, Christians, and Roma overwhelmed me when I saw it in picture after picture, clothing, shoes, books, letters, all attached to people who look like my family and Tom helped me walk through quickly and get out.
The group started with thoughts, poems and prayers in the garden of righteous Gentiles, led by Rev. Judy. We pondered the question: What made these extraordinary people stand up at great risk to themselves and their families?
At the end our group gathered for a brief memorial service that Rabbi David had prepared. Approaching this place not just as a tourist attraction or a lesson in history but with prayer and from a place of faith makes it even more meaningful to us.