On Friday morning, we caught a train from Haifa to Tel Aviv. The train was so crowded with soldiers and other people traveling home for the weekend that we had trouble finding space for our bags. When we arrived in Tel Aviv, we went to Beit Hatfutsot, a museum about the Diaspora, a few steps from the Tel Aviv University train station.
Our guide from the museum explained to us that when the museum first opened in 1978, its purpose was to tell the story of the Jewish Diaspora, from the expulsion all the way until the return to Israel. The museum was initially very popular, but then didn’t change for 30 years. Now the museum has updated its mission—the museum currently tells the present and future of the Diaspora along with its past, exploring the connections between Jews worldwide.
We then did an activity exploring our own connections with Judaism and other members of the group. We found similarities between our Jewish memories, feelings about Israel and Jewish values. While no two of us may have shared any one specific memory or feeling, the lines connecting the group as a whole formed a disentanglable network.
Our experience in the museum felt like a microcosm of this trip as a whole. The tour underlined the connections we have between ourselves and Israel, as well as the ones we are building with the Israelis. We are all Jews, and while that may mean something different to each of us, it also connects us.
Simona Dalin is a graduate student in biology at MIT.
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