With a Cincy Journeys grant of up to $6,500 to travel to Israel, high school seniors can explore their Jewish heritage through a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Registrations are now open for the 2019 March of the Living, a trip that sends Jewish high school seniors to Poland on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), where they march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built during World War II. Then, the group travels to Israel to observe Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day).
The annual trip is organized by the Mayerson JCC, in partnership with the Holocaust & Humanity Center. Cincy Journey’s Israel travel grants are funded by The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and administered by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
March of the Living makes an impact on the teenagers who participate. Here is what a few of the 2018 seniors had to say upon their return:
- The last exhibit we saw was a list of 4 million names of Jewish Holocaust victims. Among those names was the name of my grandfather and the names of his immediate family. I shared the picture of the list with my mother, and it was a very emotional experience. We talked about my grandfather—his life, his legacy, his children. If he were alive today, he would be happy to know that I was going on this journey to honor him and, most importantly, to celebrate life and my Jewish heritage. –Ori Graf
- When the words dig pits in our hearts and make thunderstorms in our eyes, the 28 of us [25 teens and three adults] leaned on one another. We hugged tight, making the other know that they were not alone, nor ever will be. –Avi Shapiro
- A Holocaust survivor stood in front of the 15,000-person crowd, draped head to toe in his striped uniform, wearing a bracelet with the number given to him at Auschwitz. He spoke of his family—his sisters, mother, father—each of whom were taken from him and murdered. It can be difficult to comprehend the immensity of the Holocaust, but his one story touched me and made me understand in a way I haven’t before. Each life lost was a person like him, someone with family and friends, history, and a future. That moment of understanding reiterated to me why I was there marching. –Devon Brandt
- The week was the darkest of my life, but it was so important that we went there to see the horrors of the past. You can learn all there is to know about what took place there, but you truly can’t grasp the bone-chilling realities without experiencing it yourself. From all the darkness, I found light as well. Our delegation of 25, marching alongside 15,000 of our people shows that we are still here. We carry on the memory of the 6 million who are not. While they were brutally murdered, their lives were not for nothing. –Noah Vigran
- Being Jewish means that we all share history, love, and stories, which brought our big group together during the trip. We learned that the purpose of life is to learn as much as possible while leaving as much good with those around us as we can. –Hannah Waskowitz
- It’s almost impossible to imagine that we were once a random group of teenagers who hardly knew each other. March of the Living was one of the most impactful experiences of our lives. In those two weeks, we gained meaningful perspective in Poland, made exciting memories in Israel, and forged unbreakable bonds. March of the Living will stay with us forever. –Gracey Hirsch, Rae Nourie, Nina Dizenhuz, and Alex Scheier
The Cincinnati delegation will travel April 28 - May 12, 2019.
Three information sessions will be held for current high school seniors and their parents on October 10 at the Mayerson JCC and 17 and 24 at in-home presentations. Each session will cover important dates, information about the trip, and how to access Cincy Journeys Israel travel grants funded by The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati.
For more information and to learn how you can be a part of the 2019 March of the Living trip, contact Philip Ganson at MOTL@MayersonJCC.org or visit mayersonjcc.org. For more information about how to apply for a Cincy Journeys Israel travel grant, contact Barb Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit cincyjourneys.org.