Etgar 36

Day 19 – San Francisco

By Ellie

Today was another amazing day of our journey on Etgar 36! We started the day by taking a quick walk to a light rail station and we rode the rail to Golden Gate Park. There, we visited the National AIDS Memorial. We heard from a guide at the memorial and he told his personal story about his boyfriend who died from AIDS. It was very impactful to see the names of people who have been affected by AIDS at the Circle of Friends, especially when it was personalized and we saw our guide’s name engraved on the floor. Then, we spoke with Gert McMullin, who is the Quilt Production and Conservation Manager of the AIDS quilt initiative. She showed us two AIDS quilts that were a part of the protest where advocates lay AIDS quilts on the lawn of the Capitol.

After that, we walked to Haight Street and learned about the hippie movement and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. We walked around the restaurants and shops on the thriving road. Some highlights were thrift shops and Amoeba Records. It was a great time to hang out with friends and do some shopping, and it was fun to take in the vibes of such a unique part of the city. We had lunch there before we took the BART to UC Berkeley. We learned about the history of the free speech movement on campus and had the opportunity to walk around town. We had dinner there before we had meaningful Friday night services in a park with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. She told us about her experiences as one of the first ten female rabbis. She is a passionate activist and she told us the story of how she protested the building of a bridge at an indigenous tribe’s holy site and how her synagogue shared their culture with the local tribe. She taught us a traditional Eastern European melody and dance, along with a Sephardi song. It was incredible to hear from someone who is so devoted to diversity and the Jewish community. She has so much experience interacting with different communities and it was a privilege to learn from her and to share a spiritual experience with her. Overall, today was a lot of fun. We learned about an important period in our country’s history, and we also had time to have fun with our friends and explore a new city.