The March of the Living is an international, educational program that brings Jewish teens from all over the world to Poland on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, and then to Israel to observe Yom Ha’zikaron, Israel Memorial Day, and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day.
March of the Living – Western Region is comprised of participants from Arizona, California*, Nevada, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. *Los Angeles has their own delegation through BJE. For more information on the LA delegation, please visit www.bjela.org.
The goals of the March of the Living are both universal (fighting indifference, racism and injustice) and particular (opposing anti-semitism, and strengthening Jewish identity and connection to Israel). Over the years students of diverse backgrounds and cultures have participated in the March of the Living, furthering these ambitious goals .
The Goals of the March of the Living
To remember those who perished and to be a witness, thus denying Hitler a “posthumous victory.”
To pay tribute to the courage of those who survived the Holocaust – who rebuilt their lives despite the haunting memories of the past – to be the bearers of their memories, the witnesses for the witnesses.
To recognize and learn from the altruistic actions of the “righteous among the nations”, who teach us to never be a bystander in the face of oppression.
To honor the heroic veterans of WWII who fought to liberate Europe from the hands of Nazi tyranny.
To never again allow for the unchecked rise of the menace of antisemitism.
To never again allow any kind of racial discrimination directed by any individual or group against another to gain strength. This goal is predicted on the belief that all human beings are created btselem elohim (in the image of God), and deserve equal dignity and respect.
To inspire participants to commit to building a world free of oppression and intolerance, a world of freedom, democracy and justice, for all members of the human family.
Jewish Identity: To bolster the Jewish identity of the next generation by acquainting them with the rich Jewish heritage that existed in pre-war Eastern Europe. Included in this goal is a commitment to living our Jewish lives today in a way that reflects the diverse values and traditions of pre-war European Jewry.
Israel: To understand the importance of the existence of Israel as the spiritual center and homeland of the Jewish people through the lesson that Jews will never again allow themselves to be defenseless. To develop a love for the people of Israel and an appreciation of the hardships and sacrifice endured by her citizens on behalf of Israel through the understanding of the concept of Meshoah Le’tkumah (from destruction to rebirth). Despite the devastation of the Holocaust, the Jewish people never gave up their belief in building a better tomorrow. Rather they rose up, against all odds and established the State of Israel—the hope and future of the Jewish people.
Jewish Unity: To instill in students a love for Am Yisrael, an appreciation for and connection to, the Jewish people in every land, throughout the ages and in contemporary times.
Tikkun Olam: To remind the students of the Jewish peoples’ responsibility to be a Maor Lagoyim, a light unto the nations, by reaching to people of other faiths and cultures, and by mending our too often shattered world, through providing our help and assistance to those most in need.
The final goal is not so much to learn from or about history – but to enter into history. Visiting Eastern Europe is a commemorative act, which demonstrates to the world that the death of six million of our people and so many others has been marked and will never be forgotten.