Pho tos by Sco tt Wa sserman
rj 1- 1
". . . A group of 14,000 proud Jews
were able to walk away alive. Millions
of our ancestors could not simply turn
around and leave Birkenau, yet we
can. We have the power to leave and
make a mark on our generation by
vowing to walk out alive so we can tell
the stories of those who never got the
( 4:72' )11. 11
I LI L
- Annie Jacobson
"Marching into the Old City of
Jerusalem after just having marched
from Auschwitz to Birkenau the
previous week was the most powerful
part of the trip. I was surrounded by
thousands of teens from all over the
world, everyone singing Am Yisrael
Chai as we marched down to the Kotel.
It is an image I will never forget, and
I have never felt more proud to be
- Marni Jacobson
Frankel Jewish Academy seniors strike a pose in Jerusalem.
FJA seniors experience the agony of Poland
and the exhilaration of Israel.
"The physical march from Auschwitz
to Birkenau was, surprisingly, an
uplifting and happy event. I felt proud
to be smiling with my Jewish friends at
the entrance to Auschwitz."
- Gideon Levinson
he March of the Living will be a life-changing experience..." Those were the
words I heard so often prior to leaving on this senior trip from the Frankel
Jewish Academy. They were words hard for me to fathom because I had yet to
understand what could be so life changing about a two-week trip.
However, as I marched with thousands of March of the Living participants, all in blue
and white, to the Kotel those words started to really resonate in my mind. It became
clear I had just experienced my own life-altering experience that I would carry with me
for the rest of my life.
It was on that march to the holiest site, where the sun was shining brightly and I was
walking hand in hand with my friends, singing Israeli songs, that I took a moment to
recall everything I had just witnessed the past week and to internalize the stories I heard
firsthand from survivors.
When I finally reached the Kotel, I made my way up to the Wall, where I said a few
prayers with friends and then silently walked backward, away from the Wall, but making
sure to never take my eyes off of the most beautiful thing in the world, the Kotel. I then
took a moment to stand alone, and in that brief moment, it all started to hit me. I had
endured a life-changing experience.
Here I was standing freely at the Kotel with a Jewish star around my neck, not because
I was forced to wear one like Jews had to during the Holocaust, but because I wanted
to show to everyone that I am a proud Jew. As I stood by myself, all my emotions from
the previous week started to hit me. I was deeply saddened as a result of everything I
had seen. I was mortified that my people went through such horrendous events. I was
extremely happy to be able to stand there and say to myself "Hitler did not win."
I am a witness to a great triumphant march where Jews from all over the world came
together to see our past horrors and move forward in celebration of the most amazing,
beautiful, welcoming place on Earth; the place that allowed me to feel more connected to
my roots and thankful for the life I have — Israel, the place I call home. Li
Anna Rubin recently graduated from
Frankel Jewish Academy in West
Bloomfield. She and 46 FJA seniors
(plus six adults) participated in
March of the Living (Poland and
Israel) for their senior trip.
Nate Strauss, who just graduated from
North Farmington High School, was a local
BBYO participant on March of the Living. He
wrote a blog during the trip. To see his com-
ments, go to motl4nate.wordpress.com .
Singing in Treblinka: Polina Fradkin, Helene Glickman, Mollie Darmon, Annie
Jacobson, Michelle Shumunov, Allie Lichterman, Gideon Levinson.
Freya Gothelf displays her pride in being
Ryan Grossinger and Evan Milan at the
Jewish at a concentration camp in
Kotel in Jerusalem
june '14 2012_