Regional Conventions & Recap Stories
Regional Convention Schedule 2013-14
September 1-2: Fall Kickoff in CLE
November 8-10: Cedar Brook Financial Leadership Training Institute at Camp Wise
January 24-26: Regional Kallah at Hiram House Camp
April 4-6: Josh Mendelsohn New Member Weekend (AIT/MIT 2014) at Camp Wise
May 15-18: Regional Convention 2014 at Cleveland, OH
March of the Living 2013 Recap
33 teens from Ohio (25 teens from BBYO’s Ohio Northern Region) formed an Ohio Delegation and just returned from the March of the Living, a two-week international experience where teens from around the world come together each year and bear witness to the destruction of the Holocaust in Poland and then travel to Israel to rejoice in the Jewish homeland. The trip was made possible with the support and sponsorship of various agencies; most notably the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, Jewish Federation of Columbus, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, Israel Culture Club, and the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland.
The March of the Living commemorates Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, as participants march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. They then celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, in the streets of Jerusalem. While the March of the Living welcomes delegations from around the world, BBYO’s delegation is the only one to bring teens together from all backgrounds and from across the United States for this experience. This year, 200 teens were a part of BBYO’s delegation, which traveled with two Holocaust survivors for the duration of the trip.
"In Auschwitz, it wasn't just pictures, it was the skin and blood of our ancestors. Their shoes, glasses, hair, luggage right in front of my eyes.” said Eva Bogomolny, member of Ohio Delegation to The March of the Living. "I walked into a room filled with mounds of luggage and out popped two suitcases, side by side, one with my name and on the next my sisters. In that instant, it became personal and I realized that it could have been me, it could have been anyone. It was remarkable to be able to walk into Auschwitz, a camp where so many of my ancestors perished, but even more memorable walking OUT showing our strength as a people and that WE SURVIVED!”
“The March of the Living changed me in unthinkable ways.” said Sydney Ungar, member of Ohio Delegation to The March of the Living. “It turned something intangible, that I had only heard about in textbooks and at hebrew school, into something real, hard and concrete. But more than that, it gave me a sense of obligation. We are the witnesses of the witnesses. When they are no longer, it is now my duty to make sure that the world will never forget about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
“What stood out most to me was the diversity of delegations that came to Poland and Israel to experience the March of the Living.” said Ryan Friedman, member of Ohio Delegation to The March of the Living. “I never really thought there were large Jewish populations in many countries, yet I saw large groups of other Jewish teens from countries including Mexico, Brazil, France, and Argentina. It truly showed me how widespread the Jewish community is, yet we all have a very similar Jewish heritage we all share and unite under. Another thing that I kept noticing was the patriotism of Israelis -- especially Jewish Israelis. Everyone had flags on their cars and hanging from building, and Yom Ha'atzmaut was more celebratory than anything I've ever seen on the Fourth of July. Their pride resonated with me and proved that Israel is a place that any and all Jews can call their home and connect to.”
Other highlights for the BBYO delegation included an opening ceremony at the Treblinka Memorial in Poland, a walking tour of the Warsaw Ghetto, a Motzei Shabbat event at Warsaw University with Canada’s National Delegation, a visit to The Western Wall in Jerusalem and a memorial service for Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, with BBYO’s sister youth movement in Israel, Maccabi Tzair.