Youth trip inspires change in perspective


Ruthie Posada

Over the summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel abroad with a youth group called United Synagogue Youth Eastern Europe Israel Pilgrimage.

I was nervous at first because I’d never traveled abroad without my parents, and I would be meeting new people from all across America.

The first part of the trip was in eastern Europe. We visited Poland, where we learned about the Holocaust and visited concentration camps. We visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, and I found that the camp has been modernized to look like more of a museum. This took away from the feel of actually being in a concentration camp.

Then at Majdanek, a camp I’d never even heard of, almost everyone cried, including me. It shocked me how a concentration camp that was previously unheard of to me made me feel so much more emotion than the ones I had learned about my whole life. It struck me when we saw a jogger heading on his regular route right around this camp that had taken so many lives. I realized, 70 years after the event, people are starting to forget the horrors of mass

genocide. But it is important that we always remember the Holocaust so that the stories can be passed down to future generations. We should not let the memory of those lost to hatred fade away with time.

Now, back in the United States, I realize we are very lucky today to have the freedom to practice any religion without fear of segregation, oppression or discrimination. However, this is not the case throughout the rest of the world. In the countries in the Middle East, many people are still oppressed for their religious beliefs.

As a result of this experience, I now believe it is even more important to pay attention to current events and news on television, social media, and in newspapers so that the message of “never forget” can live on.