Last night at the opening session Larry Moses, President of the Foundation, gave a powerful presentation on the personal, emotional, and more existential aspects of being a child of survivors. It is difficult to summarize such a talk and I can only hope that he will post it or publish it in some form.
This trip is designed NOT to be just a let's tour the terrible Holocaust sites in
Consequently the participants have been broken up into small groups -- equal numbers of Americans and Israelis -- to tackle aspects of that conversation. They began that conversation last night. It continued more informally today on the multi-hour bus trip to
It "exploded" tonight at the conversation about the commemorative trips to
One of the reasons tonight’s conversation became so raw was that something happened today at Majdanek which brought some of the subliminal issues into sharper focus.
We met a group of Israeli army officers who were visiting the camps together with both a Holocaust survivor and some parents who had lost children in
Because of scheduling matters if we had stayed to join them we would have had to drop the stop at Yeshiva Churchmen Lublin, the yeshiva which created the study program Daf Yomi [daily Talmud study].
Two of the members of the group – a Reform and Orthodox rabbi -- had carefully prepared a study session which was a composite of traditional Talmudic sources and contemporary theology/philosophy about the Holocaust [Fackenheim].
The Israelis were VERY upset that we were leaving Majdanek without participating in the ceremony [it began as we started to depart]. Some of the Americans felt they were overreaction, especially since this was not something that had been planned in advance and it's hard to simply shift things around.
The organizers felt that we could not summarily drop another element of the program, especially since two of the group had worked so hard to prepare the study session.
For some people this seemed to juxtapose the idea of a modern state of
Then there was tonight’s session and all those raw emotions.
When I left the bar a few minutes ago Israelis and Americans were deep into discussion [and some drink] discussing, debating, reflecting and just talking.
I guess that means that things are working as they should be.
Gotta pack. After a morning meeting with the Director of the new