March of the Living

March of the Living is an international program where Year 11 students spend one week in Poland learning about the Holocaust and commemorating Yom Hashoah; and one week in Israel – commemorating Yom Hazikaron and celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut.
The mission of the March of the Living is to challenge a new generation of young Jews with two of the most significant events of Jewish History – the Shoah (Holocaust) and the birth of the State of Israel. It is achieved by bringing Jewish teenagers to many of the key places where these events took place, in order to understand the world that was destroyed and how Israel was established.

The task of the March of the Living is to create memories, leading to a revitalised commitment to Judaism, Israel and the Jewish people. It will allow Marchers to educate their peers about the Holocaust and to fight those who would deny its history, while forging a dynamic link with Israel, with many returning to strengthen that connection.

March of the Living aims to bring together Jews from different countries and cultures, secular and religious, and of every religious denomination, to share a common Jewish experience. Many of the future world Jewish leadership will have participated in the March, which will strengthen their connection with each other.

In Poland, students learn about the rich Jewish life before the War. They also pay their respects at the death camps, including Majdanek, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Belzec and have meaningful engagements with various elements of the current emerging Polish Jewish community and non Jewish Polish youth as well.

In Israel, in addition to participating in a huge mega event celebrating Israel’s independence, the students have the opportunity to meet and talk with bereaved family members of fallen soldiers in Israel’s ongoing defence of its security as well as exploring key facets and sites of Israel’s deep historic heritage and of modern Israel as well. One of the more unique features of March of the Living is the exposure and involvement the students have with various “Tikkun Olam” (Social Action) projects in Israel such as spending a day volunteering at Soup Kitchens or harvesting ‘unwanted’ fruit from orchards as part of the ‘Leket’ organisation and supplying it to the needy or helping sick children at the Wolfssohn Hospital as part of the “Save a Child’s Heart” organisation or visiting and interacting with the children at the Neve Michael home for abused and abandoned children in Karkur.

March of the Living has very specific goals, the first and foremost is Zachor (remember). Other aims of the program include the following:
1.    To create a network of young adults who will take their place as the next generation of Jewish leadership.
2.    To enable young adults to enhance their own sense of Jewish identity and Jewish pride, a basic step in ensuring Jewish continuity.
3.    To enable these young adults to experience an emotional ‘growth spurt’ which will aid in their Jewish maturation.