Last week we marched in Poland. Today, on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), we marched in Jerusalem. What a truly symbolic transition from darkness to light, from Shoah to the state of Israel, from imminent death to life.
Our march in Jerusalem started with thousands of excited Jewish teens outside of the Old City. We danced and sang and traded quite a few hats and shirts with delegations from across the globe. With the flag of Israel in hand, we marched from that spot outside of the Old City towards the Kotel–something that six million of our brothers and sisters never had the chance to do.
Later in the day, we rejoined these thousands of Jewish teens for the March of the Living Mega Event. There was food and fun activities that lead into an amazing show to celebrate the 28th annual March of the Living and the fact that, from darkness to light, we are still here. Singers and dancers filled the arena with triumphant joy alongside with a spectacular light show. Multiple people commemorated and praised the March of the Living, including a survivor of Auschwitz and Shimon Perez, the ninth president of the state of Israel.
Throughout Yom Ha’atzmaut, we heard three triumphant Hebrew words–am yisrael chai. Wether it was in the dancing crowd outside the Old City or in Shimon Perez’s speech, the famous phrase was sung and spoken and chanted and shouted, all in an effort to let the world know that am yisrael chai–that the people of Israel live.
-Adrian Niedermann, Mason High School