Holocaust Remembrance in BBYO Summer

January 27, 2023
Rose Gallatin

West Bloomfield, MI, USA

Class of 2023

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That is how many years it has been since 6,000,000+ Jews were murdered in horrific, systematic anti-semetic acts. Lives were taken based solely on one's identity, and those not killed were placed in treacherous and terrifying living conditions. 

While there is so much research that can be done about what happened at this time, I want to take y’all through a trip down memory lane to one of the most memorable weekends of my life: Shabbat to Remember at International Kallah 2021.

To start, I’ll briefly explain what this weekend was. We got the privilege of having two Holocaust survivors, Stephanie and Sami, step on the grounds of Perlman camp in Lake Como, PA. Throughout the weekend, we got to hear their stories, ranging from their childhood memories to how they were living now. From their experiences in concentration camps to life beyond liberation, there was so much to learn and it simply could not all fit into a weekend. 

By far my favorite part of the weekend was getting to bond with them during chofesh and showing them all of the fun we have at Perlman. While they were telling us all about themselves, they were genuinely interested in learning about us as well as what we do outside of summer (I’m pretty sure I might’ve told them more about what I do than I’ve told my parents in a week!).

Another highlight of the weekend was getting the chance to internationally induct them into the Order. It was a bit emotional for me personally as it was such a rewarding experience seeing their smiles after receiving their books and the gratitude they had for us. 

The weekend ended with havdalah around the Perlman tree, and it was so fun to have Holocaust survivors singing the songs with us and having just as much fun as we were, if not more!

Sami Steigmann and I at the Perlman Tree following Shabbat to Remember

The relationships I developed with Sami and Stephanie are so unique that it is hard to find anything quite like it. So my advice: when you get the ability to experience something like this, take that opportunity in the palm of your hand. Because who knows if you will ever again get anything similar? 

Survivors that are still with us only have so much time to continue sharing their stories, and it is our duty as Jewish teens to keep those stories alive. Remember them. Celebrate them. Honor them.

Even though I only had 25 hours to spend with these survivors, knowing that I got to hear these stories on a BBYO Summer Program is the most heartwarming feeling, something that is just too hard to put into words. I got to reunite with Sami at IC 2022, and knowing that this connection started because of BBYO is something I am forever grateful for. With that said, YOU (yes YOU, the one reading this article!) should go sign up for a BBYO summer program! This experience, among numerous others, are ones you will keep forever. These programs also give you the amazing opportunity to learn about Jewish history, all while making the best friends that you will forever call family. 

Sign up here: SUMMER PROGRAMS!!

As most of y'all probably know, anti-semitism is on the rise in not just the US, but the world as a whole. As a global Jewish movement, it is up to us to speak out against anti-semitism when it is placed in front of us, with a goal of NEVER repeating what happened during the Holocaust..

Rose is a BBG from Michigan and she loves to sing.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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