"The March of the Living was, for me, a life altering experience. I come from a miniscule Jewish community, which is partially the reason that I don’t keep Shabbat, I don’t fast on Yom Kippur and I can’t remember more than the first line of the Shema. But that was before I went on the March. Searching for my Jewish identity has been a lifelong process, but never more real then when I travelled to Poland.
To be standing where my Jewish brothers and sisters stood, to pray at their graves, to return to the country where the Jewish identity was almost erased... it brought me to awareness beyond anything I have ever experienced. Suddenly, being Jewish and taking part in the traditions that identify me as such became essential. Raising my kids Jewish, sharing the stories, the legends and the horror and never bowing my head or ignoring hateful comments is now part of who I am. I can’t imagine life without waking up every morning to Israeli flags, to the Shema, to the knowledge that I am not alone and never will be. Judaism has become intrinsic to my life and my future.
The things I saw will always plague me. I will always remember the ocean of ashes at Mejdonik, the shoes at Aushwitz, the smell of death and leather and the silence of Treblinka. I will always be haunted by those ghosts. But it gives me strength to fight a loss of faith every day, and to find hope in David and Alex’s strength. I speak to them regularly, and I look up to them in every way. Their courage and dignity gives me hope in humanity after encountering the capacity for evil in an entire generation's history.
Israel is now home; I plan to make Aliyah when I’m older, to return to the land that makes me bless every step I take. The March of the Living is an experience that will stay with me forever, every day, and every hour of my life. The profound impact of seeing ten thousand fellow Jews, a river of blue, coursing like a vein of life through a place chocked with death will never leave me. Am Israel Chai."
Natasha B., Participant on the Coast-to-Coast bus 2012