Beit Shraga Albany 8th Grade Visits Nofei Habsor Eshkol School

Day 3 – (4/19/12) – by Mollie

It’s only 11:13 in the morning and we have already had a very touching and meaningful experience. Before we came to Israel, in school, Ruti asked for volunteers to participate in the Yom HaShoah Memorial Service in Israel with the Israeli eighth graders. I volunteered to write and speak in English, and Noah volunteered to speak in Hebrew. On the plane, Ruti worked with both of us, helping us prepare our speeches. Little did I know that we were going to be speaking in front of the entire 7-12th grade school. I was starting to have major anxieties about this, especially when I walked into the huge auditorium filled with 900 students.

Their ceremony was much different than ours. The program began with the head of school welcoming the students, the faculty, community guests, and a special welcome to HACD. The entire program was in Hebrew, and everyone in the audience was wearing white shirts. The program included video clips of some of the students who participated in the “March of the Living” experience in Poland, some quiet songs, and poetry.

Noah and I were escorted on stage about half way through the program. I was so incredibly scared and nervous. We both said our speeches, and were later told that we did an amazing job. We even got to meet the mayor, and take a picture with him J.

For the past nine years, I have been used to going to school on Yom HaShoah, and spending the day with the lights out, wearing a yellow Jewish star badge, planting a tree, and having a small ceremony. However, being here in Israel, with Israeli students, in an Israeli school, surrounded by Hebrew, made everything so much more meaningful. The students in that school all behaved as though it was their personal tragedy. I finally became aware that this is also my personal tragedy. Yom HaShoah will never be the same for me, because I will always remember my experience at Nofei Habsor.

Today, we again saw our new eighth grade Israeli friends, and after becoming friends with so many of them yesterday, it was not easy to say goodbye so soon. They were all so friendly and welcoming, and we promised each other that we will keep in touch on Skype and Facebook. We are all so grateful to have met them. Lots of pictures to come J…

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