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BBYO Teens Call March of the Living a "Life-Changing Experience"

June 19, 2009

From April 19 – May 2, 56 BBYO teens participated in the March of the Living, an international, educational program that brings Jewish youth from all over the world to Poland on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built during World War II, and then to Israel to observe Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day.

Whether participants were traveling through Majdanek or Tsfat; touring the concentration camp Auschwitz or the old city of Jerusalem; commemorating Holocaust victims or Israeli military heroes; or celebrating Shabbat surrounded by Jews in Jerusalem, each journey proved informative, meaningful, and emotional for the teens.

READ WHAT TEENS ARE SAYING ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE ON MARCH OF THE LIVING:

“BBYO's March Of The Living trip was the most eye-opening experience. Every since I was little I was taught a great deal about Jewish history and the Holocaust. This program was incomparable to anything in the world I’d ever experienced.”- Amanda Zucker

“I think the March of the Living is an important journey that allows the past's stories to continue living in the future.”- Melissa Kansky

“I think this trip has made me connect to Judaism in an entirely new way. I had always treated my religion as a very social, cultural thing. After going on the March of the Living, Judaism has become more personal to me. It is more than just tradition now, it is something I believe in because I've made the choice to do so.” – Rebekah Mastel

“I went. I saw. I’ll Remember. And I’ll Never Forget. Hands down, the March of the Living was the most rewarding, eye-opening, mind-blowing, unforgettable experience I have yet to witness in my life. Until you see it for your own eyes, you won't truly understand what it means. This trip has forever touched my heart and I plan to pass on the stories for those who no longer can.”- Kate Belza

“"March of the Living was a life-changing experience. I was able to see the transition from ‘Hell’ in Poland to freedom in Israel. The March of the Living has changed me for the better. It was an experience I will never forget.” –Matthew Kaplan

“Walking through death camps hand-in-hand with Holocaust survivors while listening to their stories is simply indescribable. Marching through Jerusalem with thousands of other Jewish teens is an experience I wish I could do over and over again. March of the Living is a very special and unique opportunity that everyone should participate in at least once in their life. In a mere two weeks, I gained close friends, saw amazing sights, and obtained a new connection to fellow Jewish people and the State of Israel.”- Harrison Goldspiel

“March of the Living was an amazing experience. While Poland was very depressing and heart-breaking, I do not regret it for a second. I am now a witness of the atrocities that occured and can carry on the stories of the survivors who traveled with us. In addition, our experiences in Poland made Israel even more meaningful, and amazing than it already was in my mind.”- Josh Gale, Brookeville, Maryland “We came. We saw. We remember.”- Elliott Malin

“In my three years of involvement in BBYO on the regional and international level, I can say with confidence that the March of the Living is the most life-changing and the most important program that BBYO has to offer. In Poland, there was an overwhelming feeling of grief and sorrow. Yet, as 10,000 Jews from all over the world rejoiced in vibrant songs of hope and peace together, each one of us experienced the true blessing of practicing our faith together without fear, because evil did not prevail. And as long as people continue to go on the March of the Living, they will continue to work towards the abolition of hatred, intolerance, and evil.”- Sheeri Bornstein

“The March Of The Living is an experience I will never forget. It is truly life-changing. The pictures and videos I had seen of the camps are nothing compared to seeing it with my own eyes. It was a journey of life and death.”- Rachel Shulman

“March of the living wasn't just a trip. It was a life-changing experience” Philip Weisbord

“Most people call the March of the Living a trip. My regional director calls it a journey. I call it a gateway. Through this gateway, I learned about my past, witnessed the present, and will enjoy what the future has to offer. “- Spencer Israel

“March of the Living is the most important trip I will ever take. I learned so much about myself and my ancestors and developed a strong and lasting pride in my religion.- Benji Rubin

“March of the Living changed my life and touched my heart. It made me realize that Jews need to stick up for one another. I will never forget what I saw or the stories i heard. I will retell their stories forever. I went. I saw. I remembered. Never forget.”- Rachel Shor

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