Thursday, April 25, 2013

A heavy responsibility.

This is my fourth summer working for NFTY in Israel. The past three summers I have been in charge of my group and logistics, but this summer I am also going to be the tour guide.  I have been in a course for the past few months going around Israel to learn about the different sites that we take the participants. Our trip also includes a week in Europe at the beginning (and then 4 weeks in Israel.) The trip is called L'dor v'dor, from generation to generation. We also had a trip with the other guides to Europe, to Prague, Krakow, and Warsaw. This was the fifth time in my life I have been to these locations, so the shock-factor wasn't part of my experience. But I did feel a new sense of responsibility, more than just keeping my group safe and on time, I felt a sense of Jewish history and continuity on my shoulders. It is now my responsibility to teach about the Jewish life that was lost and inspire the Jewish life that we have an obligation to continue.

I am guiding in the "Secret Synagogue" at the Terezin concentration camp which is located outside of Prague, Czech Republic. Jews risked their lives every time they snuck into pray. The synagogue was kept such a secret that it wasn't discovered until many years after the war. 

Evalina and me at Auschwitz I. She was our guide at the site. She was born very near the camp in Poland and expressed that she feels it is her responsibility to teach about what happened here. She also feels sad that her country is defined by six years of history, '39-'45, when really there is 700 years of Polish history. She is a very inspiring woman. 

I am excited to meet my participants in June in Prague. I know we will have quite the journey together. 

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