Trip to Holy Land for Israeli holidays proves 'inspirational' and 'emotional' for local teens

CINCINNATI - After an emotional week in Poland, the teens who make up Cincinnati's March of the Living delegation are soaking up new experiences in Israel.

In Poland, the 33 high school students and their adult chaperones marched between Auschwitz and Birkenau, two of the most infamous Nazi concentration camps.

Now in Israel, cultural experiences are allowing the group to celebrate their heritage. Language barriers haven't stopped two students on the trip from connecting to the people they are meeting. 

The group travels to Cincinnati's sister city Netanya next (see map).

Holy Land for the holidays

Benji Kriner, of Wyoming High School, and Walnut Hills High School student Tessa Rothfeld blogged about Israel, including visits to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the Yitzak Israeli History Museum on April 14.

Here's a verbatim blog post from the students:

"Hi, this is Benji and Tessa reporting live from the Holy Land. Today we went to Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and The Yitzak Rabin Israeli History Museum. 

It was inspirational because we all learned a lot about the state of Israel and the connection to the Holocaust. In addition, today is also known as Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembrance for the fallen soldiers.

Although both Benji and I have been to Israel before, we have never experienced these holidays. It was a memorable sight to see all of Israel pause for a moment of silence and come together in unity.

The cultural and spiritual connection we feel for this country was heightened after learning about the foundation and people of Israel.

And even though we couldn't understand what the people were saying at Rabin Square, we all got to see the emotion and sadness on other's faces.

Tomorrow we are meeting our host families in Netanya, our sister city."

What is March of the Living?

Thirty three Cincinnati-area teens and their adult chaperones are on a journey from Poland to Israel to explore their Jewish faith during March of the Living.

March of the Living is a silent walk in Poland that honors Yom HaShoah, Holocaust  Remembrance Day. The massive group marches from Auschwitz to Birkenau, two of the most notorious concentration camps during the event.

The group returns from Israel on April 17.

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