Privyet from the old country!
Today was quite a day. Upon waking up we made our way through the beautiful Menorah Center to eat a fancy, yet light, breakfast. As we reflected on the day at the end of the day we all agreed that breakfast was the best meal so far. We then got to see the most magnificent ballroom. The floor was flawless and there were incredible crystal chandeliers hanging from every inch of the ceiling. I loved it so much that I began to dance!
After a brief waltz we made our way over to the Menorah Center’s Holocaust Museum. It is a museum with the purpose of educating people about how the holocaust manifested itself in Ukraine. It was an interesting experience because some of us had been to Yad Vashem or the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and those museums are designed to evoke emotion whereas this one was all about information. Personally, I found that this museum touched me in a way different than other museums had, so much so that I had a lot of trouble completing the tour. After the tour, we had a really good tri-lingual discussion about how we felt going through the museum and some people shared personal stories about how their families were affected by the Holocaust. Then, making what felt to me like an abrupt transition, we went to the school and had a “discussion club” with the students of the older grades at the Jewish Day School.
Today the classes were more successful as we have had some time to get to know our kids and to work on navigating the language barrier. At the end of the day today some of the kids didn’t leave right away and stayed to talk with us. During our meeting to reflect on the day a cute little kid, I think he was six, named Nikita, came running down the hall to us, whipped out a smart phone (!) and took a “selfie” with Zoe and Hannah, his teachers. I have noticed that we are all starting to smile a lot more; not that we weren’t before, except that now everyone has their suitcase, nobody is horribly exhausted or feverish, and everybody is eating enough.
Right now we are chilling in the Menorah Center Hotel. We are all having a great time – tomorrow is our turn to lead the lessons and we are all looking forward to our turn to step up.