There is one moment from the Belarus trip that stands out from all the others. It happened early on in the restoration work in the cemetery in Luna. A few of us were lifting one of the gravestones and doing so with considerable effort since we hadnít perfected the process yet. When the stone was set upright I began to read the inscription. It was written in Hebrew, a language I thought I had forgotten after studying it for 9 years. After I read the inscription, which honored a man like any modern inscription would, I just let the moment sink in. There I was, standing on the land of my birth and speaking the language of my people. From soil both sanctified as the final resting place of the pious and defiled by the senseless slaughter of innocents, arose a symbol of immortality. When the dirt was wiped away from the inscription, I read about a man who the world had forgotten for 150 years. By remembering him even for a moment, I made sure he would never be completely forgotten. He deserved more, but at least it was something. Around me I could hear both Russian and English being spoken. I could see my friends from Dartmouth and the local people from Belarus. Everyone was both exhausted and exhilarated. While I usually despise what I refer to as manual labor, there is an unarguable honor in hard work for a deserving cause. The reason this moment, as opposed to the countless other amazing experiences of the trip, stands first in my mind is because it represented everything that the trip was to me. Working side by side with my friends, for the first time in my life appreciating that I could speak Russian, seeing the country of my birth, honoring those who have lived before me, and remembering a language I hadnít spoken since middle school were some of the things that made this trip so memorable to me. One other thing that I will always remember was reciting the biblical passage where God ordered Abraham to leave his native land; Go forth, from your land, from your place of birth, from your fatherís house, and go to the land which I shall give onto you. There I was, an American on Belarusian soil speaking Hebrew, on the way back to the United States. The story of my life I guessÖ

Yan Shurin í08