Washington 2014

The Aviva Barth High School Outreach Program is off to Washington.  From March 9th to March 13th teens from regional Jewish communities across Canada will experience Washington as students and friends.  The focus of the itinerary is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and meeting with a survivor.  Other planned stops include the Israel Embassy, the National Museum of Natural History, the United States Supreme Court, and a tour of the city's many monuments.


This tour is a once in a lifetime opportunity that they will never forget.



Day 3: March 11

Today was one of the busiest yet.  We toured the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Air and Space Museum.  We went to the National Aquarium, and we took part in a Monuments by Moonlight tour, which brought us all around the Capital, and provided a tour guide who gave explanations, stories, and context for all of the sites, buildings, monuments and memorials that Washington houses.

We saw and learned about everything from the Washington Monument, to the Lincoln Memorial, the Capital Building, the Jefferson Memorial, the Canadian Embassy, the Martin Luther King Memorial, and much more.

With only one day left on our trip, we have seen and done so much here.  Tomorrow morning - the Holocaust Memorial Museum - is of course the focal point of our trip to Washington.  When we first arrive we will be meeting with a Holocaust survivor, followed by our tour of the Museum.  The last few days here have been packed, moving from place to place to see and do as much as possible.  Tomorrow though, we are dedicating the day toward spending time learning at this museum, with no time constraints.

Once everyone has taken their time to tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum we will, together as a group, discuss our reactions, and touch on the question 'where do we go from here?'.

We'll end the evening (and trip) on a lighter note, as we'll go to an NBA basketball game, and will head home directly afterwards.


Day 2: March 10

Today was a great day, packed with from start to finish.  After breakfast we started with a discussion that focused on how Hitler and the Nazi party gained power, and were successful in persuading millions to buy in to their vision.  Interesting insight was shared on the depressed state of Germany following WWI, and how the economic, political and social state of the country at that time was a key aspect in Hitler's rise, and the population's support.  We watched 'The Wave', a movie based on a true story in which a high school teacher attempts to teach his class experientially way how Hitler gained support.  The video can be found on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKQLbFfRF4s

We then went to the United States Supreme Court, and walked to the White House for some photo opportunities.  We were given a lecture at the Supreme Court about its functions, history, architecture and more.  Participants saw the White House not only as the residence of the Present and past Presidents, but also as a location for many protests. 

We toured the International Spy Museum, ate at a Kosher deli, and swam in the JCC's pool.  The group heard briefly from the JCC's mashgiach, and we ended by starting an ongoing of 'Gotcha', which will be played over the next few days.

We're looking forward to tomorrow when we'll experience three Smithsonian museums, the National Aquarium, and our Monuments by Moonlight bus tour.




March 9: Day 1

Evan Mendel

The Aviva Barth High School Outreach Program has made it to Washington DC safe and sound!

Today was our travel day, which was filled with get to know you activities. The Ontario-based Aviva Barth High School Outreach Program has welcomed four new participants from Kamloops British Colombia, one participant from New Brunswick, and three new participants from Guelph to experience Washington with the Jewish teens of Ontario`s Regional Jewish communities.  Our group of 17 participants, ages 13-18, are happy to be together and are excited for the week ahead.

The bus from Toronto to our hotel in Camp Springs took 12 hours with one stop. We passed the time by introducing ourselves, watching movies, playing card games, catching up on the daylight savings hour we lost, and more.  By the end of the bus ride I can say that all participants know each other`s names, where each other are from, and a few fun facts about each other!  A nice start to an immersive group experience.

When we arrived at our hotel this evening everyone had time to unpack before we ate a late dinner.  Evan gave a formal welcome to and overview of the Washington trip, and we began sharing with each other the Holocaust education we are coming to the trip having already received, along with questions the participants have on their minds that they would like to learn more about over the course of the trip.  Between now and Wednesday morning, when we visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum, our educational programs will aim to answer as many of the teens questions as possible.  Everyone has written down the questions they have, and we will reexamine these when we debrief our visit to the museum. Our hope is that by that time the questions that were brought up tonight will have been answered.   

Tomorrow we will be visiting the United States Supreme Court, the White House, International Spy Museum, and the Washington DC Jewish Community Centre.

Shavuah tov,



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