As we commemorate the great losses suffered during the Holocaust this Yom Hashoah, we share with you a thoughtful reflection from Natalie Perach, an alumna of the 2011 REALITY Israel Experience for Teach For America corps members program. In December, Natalie used a Make It Happen Project micro grant for REALITY Israel alumni to travel to Poland and Budapest on a trip sponsored by the Jewish Resource Center at the University of Michigan. Having lost family members in the Holocaust, Natalie wanted to explore the vibrancy of Jewish life as it once was, the magnitude of the loss and the seeds of rebirth.
“You’re a sick man,” a member of the trip said to Tzvi, our England born, Israel-residing tour guide, half jokingly, half trying to break the nervous energy that grasped our group. “Scheduling a trip into Treblinka at eleven thirty at night on New Year’s Eve. You’re a sick man.”
Rabbi Lynn (the leader of our trip), passing nearby, overhead my remark. “Welcome to hell,” he commented.
Hell it was. And hell it is. Read More »