Yom Hashoah Reflections

By Lori on 05/16/2011 @ 06:56 PM

Last week on Yom HaShoah, we remembered the six million Jewish souls lost in the Holocaust. Throughout the day, I found myself reflecting on our Young Lion of Judah program. This program pairs B’nai Mitzvah students and their family with survivors of the Holocaust. Together, they learn and form a new friendship. The “tweens” and their families provide companionship for many of their partners. In turn, their partners provide a real life, hands on lesson in Jewish values and the history of the Jewish people.

One of the highlights of this program for me was how many of the families embraced the survivor they were paired with as a new member of their family. Many of them spent Shabbat together or Sunday afternoons where the students got to see pictures of their partner’s family and learn about their lives. Some students even helped teach their new friend how to use Skype so that they could communicate with their children and grandchildren across the sea and state.

Most of all, on Yom HaShoah, I thought about how important it is that we continue this program next year. Some students have told us that this has been their most important lesson in social justice. Those who choose to participate in the Young Lion program are given a gift and an opportunity to meet a survivor and experience their journey and memories in a hands-on way. More importantly, they are given the chance to be a part of a collective Jewish experience that assures we will never forget what happened to our people.

If your son or daughter is preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in 2011-2012, please let me know so that we can keep you posted on the next class of Young Lions. You can email me at volunteer@gmjf.org.

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