Converting to Judaism: A Visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum as a Lesson in History and Faith
The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem is a poignant and emotional place that serves as a powerful reminder of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. Recently, a group of individuals who are in the process of converting to Judaism through Shavei Israel’s Machon Milton visited the museum with Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, director of Machon Milton, and other teachers and staff, as part of their journey towards embracing the Jewish faith.
For many of the visitors, the experience was a profound one. As they walked through the exhibits and learned about the horrors of the Holocaust, some of them from the very places that were the center of it all, they were struck by the resilience and strength of the Jewish people. For them, the visit was not only a lesson in history, but also an affirmation of their commitment to joining the Jewish community.
One of the visitors, Naomi originally from Germany, was deeply touched by something the tour guide said near the end of the tour. “She spoke about the liberation of the concentration camps and said that the majority of the survivors do not (seek) revenge; the only kind of revenge was, shortly after, to give birth to many children and thus let the Jewish people grow again.”
Another visitor, who preferred not to be named, said, “As someone who is converting to Judaism, visiting Yad Vashem was a deeply emotional experience. It reminded me of the importance of remembering the past and standing up against hate and intolerance. It also made me more determined than ever to become a part of the Jewish community.”
As Rabbi Tradburks told his students at the end of the tour, Yad Vashem is not a place you come to once; you have to come back numerous times as there is so much information and so many moving stories to absorb.
For many people, the journey towards conversion can be a challenging and complex one. However, for this group, the visit to Yad Vashem served as a powerful reminder of the rich and meaningful heritage that they are joining. As they continue on their path towards embracing Judaism, they will carry with them the lessons and memories of the Holocaust, and strive to be a force for good in the world.