By Christopher Lee
Cold Spring Harbor High School
New York, United States
The trip to Poland and Israel from March 27 to April 9 of this year was an unqualified success. The trip was arranged through the I*EARN telecommunications network. Five adults from America went on this trip: Honey Kern, Vivian Cahn, Judith Lee, Julie Rosenoff, and Gary LaTurner. After they returned, I asked them for their general impressions.
One of the points that everyone agreed on was that everybody learned a great deal. It was also agreed upon that one learns much more firsthand than by studying from a book or in a classroom. If a picture equals a thousand words, an experience equals a thousand pictures.
Everyone who went on this trip had many memorable experiences. If you asked each person who went, "What was the most emotional part of the trip," you would get two answers. One would be the concentration camps. Everyone stood transfixed in horror as they looked upon these instruments of destruction. They made you feel small and insignificant. One of the other answers you would get was "the kids." It is one thing to experience loss and pain, but it is something entirely different to see it in the eyes of someone you have grown close to.
The most predictable question I asked was "What can we do to make this trip more enjoyable next time?" The most common response was to make this experience more relevant to us as Americans. An Israeli-English translator would have helped the students to feel more of a part of the experience.
One other thing that the Americans would have liked to have shared in was the remembrance services. They would have liked to take part, as Americans.
Israel: Tel Aviv Viewed from Old Jaffa
Everyone agreed that Israel was fun. The Americans split up, and each one stayed with a host family for a few days. This allowed them more flexibility, and the ability to tour cultural sights that weren't planned, but that the Israeli families felt were important. They were also able to visit some social events and places. A favorite was a large shopping mall near the ORT Motzkin High School.
One other enjoyable event was the ability to take part in the Jewish Seder (Passover meal). It was an experience that few are likely to forget.
All in all, the trip should be considered a success. The main drawback on the trip was the lack of downtime to rest, talk about what you had seen, sleep, or hang out with your friends. In any case, this was definitely an experience not to be missed.
Copyright © 1993-2005 by iEARN. All rights reserved.
Access the HGP's An End to Intolerance Web page.
Access the Holocaust/Genocide Project's Home Page.