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May 03, 2012 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-05-03

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Sharon Lipton, president of the Michigan Jewish Conference, gives Scout Stephen Pothoff
of Copemish his award for his prize-winning essay.

The Arrowmen presented the state and U.S. flags during the

Shoshana Weinberger of Oak Park, wife of survivor Jack Weinberger, and Scouts Josh

Breakfast at the armory before the ceremony

Olsen of Traverse City and Kevin Neff of Gaylord enjoy lunch and conversation at MSU

Touching History from page 8

speakers, including the keynote address
by author and survivor Miriam Winter of
Herman had come up with the idea of
having an essay contest for the Scouts.
The topic was "What Are The Important
Lessons of the Holocaust?" The winner
would be introduced by Lt. Gov. Calley and
read his essay at the ceremony. Stephen
Pothoff, 17, from Copemish, a town in
Manistee County with a population of
209, wrote the prize-winning essay, receiv-
ing enthusiastic applause and appre-
ciation from the survivors and his fellow
Arrowmen at the ceremony.
A candle-lighting ceremony takes place
near the end of the ceremony and is always
solemn as each survivor is introduced
with his or her family history retold. As the
name of each survivor is read, he or she
stands to approach the podium to light a


May 3 • 2012

"We must have learned by now how quickly a threat
can become an enemy, and how quickly an enemy can
become evil."
— Stephen Pothoff,
his winning essay

candle. Here, the Scouts again served as
escorts, walking each survivor up to and
back from the front of the rotunda as his or
her name was read.
As the ceremony conduded at close to
2 p.m., the group of rather hungry Scouts
escorted the survivors downstairs to their
bus, boarded their own bus and made the
short trek across town to Michigan State
University Hillel. It was in this casual and
festive atmosphere, after such a serious
and thoughtful day, that the survivors and
Arrowmen enjoyed lunch together and
indeed got to know one another. Every table

had a mix of Scouts and survivors. And, at
every table, the Scouts became personal
acquaintances and witnesses to the stories
of these incredible members of the Jewish
The past few days home have been a
flurry of notes and an exchange of photos.
However, perhaps the most rewarding have
been the comments that have come from
Scouts and parents alike. Here is one that is
representative of them all:
"My son, a Boy Scout and Order of the
Arrow member, just returned from Lansing
this evening where he took part in the

Holocaust Service . . . I cannot think of any
one activity — in or out of Scouting — that
has had such an impact on my son. He was
deeply moved by meeting the Holocaust sur-
vivors. And, even while it is a point in history
that is beyond difficult to remember, to learn
of to hear about, he enjoyed himself on the
trip at the same time.
"In fact, when I asked him his favorite part
of the day, he said it was having lunch with
a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor who really
liked to talk, and he really enjoyed listening
to her:'
For the 43 members of the Indian Drum
Lodge of the Order of the Arrow, the words
of fellow Arrowman Stephen Pothoff's
prize-winning essay have certainly taken on
a new and more urgent meaning: "We must
have learned by now how quickly a threat
can become an enemy, and how quickly an
enemy can become evil."

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