An update from Jaeidah R., a senior studying biological sciences and Jewish studies:
Today was the day that we were scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, the National Israel Holocaust Memorial museum. Our guide previously informed us that this visit was not one to depress us, but just inform us of the Israeli narrative for the creation of Israel and the future that Israelis see for themselves.
Naturally, I took this with a grain of salt. The memorial of millions of lives lost, no matter how many times it is commemorated, is one of the most disheartening emotions for one to experience. As we got off of the bus, there was immediately a jaw-dropping landscape, one side covered with the natural beauty of the land, another with the modern homes of Israelis atop the hillside.
Our tour guide decided that we should tour the outside of the memorial before we entered. As we walked through the beautiful garden paths, there was an abundance of trees with a placard next to each, providing a name and country. What was most impressive was the abundance of life that surrounded the museum. It was truly a counteractive psychological force against the horrible tragedy that was memorialized on the inside. Because of our walk through the garden, once we entered the museum I was able to remember all of the lives that were saved because of each tree that was planted. Each intentionally placed to remember every person that saved a Jewish life without reward. The entire museum had been planned perfectly, and had a different significance because of how it had been orchestrated. This museum felt different. I have unfortunately seen the cruel effects of human destruction in other trips I have taken, but this museum allowed me to commemorate all of the lives lost in the Holocaust, including the number of lives of people that look like me, and I felt hopeful of the future.