USY PILGRIMAGE 2014 How a bus FULL of teens become family
Hey New Fro!
My USY Poland-Israel Pilgrimage wasn't just the best month of my life, it was so much more. Each and everyday, I was lucky enough to experience new culture, people, food, and prayer.
My 5 week trip consisted of one week in Poland, which opened up my eyes to the past of the Jewish people and the struggles of my ancestors. Being able to walk through a concentration camp, hand in hand, with 41 other teenagers was an experience that I will never forget. I saw, felt, and stood in a place that our people had been oppressed in. With my own eyes, I saw endless piles of hair, shoes, pictures, and other personal belongings that the Nazis had sickly kept. I will never forget the feeling of walking out of Triblinka alive as most have not. Or walking upon the train tracks of Aushwitz II that had brought millions to their death. Because of the opportunity to physically be in the place that had brought the death to millions of my people, I learned what it means to be a Jew, to fight back, to love, and never let go of who I am.
Arriving in Israel brought tears to my eyes, as I was awed at the beauty of a place I now like to call home. The best 4 weeks I could have ever dreamed of followed with such majestic feeling. I prayed at the Kotel, swam in the Dead Sea, got the opportunity to help in packaging food to feed families in need, and the list goes on and on.
42 teenagers and 5 staff members became a family after beginning as absolute strangers in only a matter of days. Because we were able to experience the worst of Poland, we fully appreciated the land of Israel in an inexplicable way. The journey I went on gave me a connection to prayer, my Jewish identity, friendships, and to my new home that will continue for the rest of my life.
So New Fro, I want each and every one of you to be able to have this experience as I encourage each you to go on USY Israel Pilgrimage. Please talk to your parents and please sign up! I am always here for any questions!