(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
About 180 students from the ORT school in Buenos Aires planted trees in Nahshon Forest as part of their participation in the March of the Living, which began in Poland’s regions of death and concluded with the creation of new life in Israel. The youngsters visited the sites where millions of Jews were exterminated, toured important Jewish centers and honored the memory of the victims of Nazism on Holocaust Remembrance Day. They celebrated Independence Day in Israel: “There’s no more appropriate way to conclude the journey to Poland than by planting new life in Israel, the Jewish State.”
Holocaust survivor Lea Novera, who accompanied the delegation on its journey through Poland, told the youngsters something of her own experiences during the war and described how she had survived under Nazi persecution. This elderly lady forged a special bond with the young students in the course of their shared journey, and, after the speeches at the ceremony, moments before the youngsters set off to start planting their trees, she made an emotional declaration: “I entered Auschwitz knowing I would not come out of there alive. To me there is nothing more moving than being here today in Israel together with you, a group of Jewish young people.”
For sixteen-year-old Alan Faerman, this was his first visit to Israel, and his excitement was plain to read on his face as he planted a tree in the soil of his homeland for the first time in his life. “After I saw what had happened to our people and my family in the Holocaust, I understand how important it is for Jews to have their own state. I’m really excited to be here in Israel,” he said.
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