Youth Jewish Organization in Poland (ZOOM) gathering young Polish Jews from Poland founded in 2007.
Important aims of the Organization are: to integrate young Polish Jews by organizing seminars and meetings and providing information about Jewish heritage and history in their educational activities.
This year is the first year that they are active with fieldwork in cemeteries. This is a new project for them which took place in September led by Vyacheslav Melnyk.
TESTIMONY OF STUDENT
From: Zofia Agata Zięba Secretary,Polish Jewish Youth Organisation
Sent: 21 November 2015 17:52
What did you think coming out of the project?
The chance to visit a cemetery, a memorial site was refreshing for our organization. All the time we focus on the future of the Jewish life in Poland and this trip let us notice the lack of necessary focus on the past. I really hope that this trip will prelude to some more of this kind.
Overall I think the project brought new quality of member retreats for our organization, it was very inspiring and thought invoking.
Can you say a few words about yourself?
I’ve been a member of Zoom for a long time, since the beginning of the organization. My name is Matt and I’ve always tried my best to be active in all of Zoom’s activities. Whenever I wasn’t active on the organizational side of things, I’ve always took it to heart to support the projects and inject a big dose of positivity into the crowd.
What did you think of the initiative?
As with every project conducted by our organization I was excited for something new with my old friends. Twice every year we get together for a members retreat, which never meant so much for me as this one. When you do something good for someone, he can repay you for the deed, when you do something good for the deceased you will never get anything back from anyone for it. That is truly an act of altruism, a good deed. I was very happy when I heard that we will be given such an opportunity during our summer retreat.
What did you think coming into the project?
To be honest I’ve never been on a trip dedicated to the memory of the numerous previous generations of Jews in Poland and the countless souls lost during the tragedy of the Second World War.
Additionally I’ve never visited this particular part of Poland through the prism of Jewish history before.
I knew of Szczebrzeszyn only thanks to the well known Polish poem saying that it is known because a beetle sounds in the reeds there.
After being at the site what do you think needs most attention?
Definitely the most noticeable negative of the cemetery is the fact that it’s overgrown. The plot is mostly covered by overgrowth making it impenetrable in some areas.
Some of the gravestones need to be put back up, besides the ones we tried fixing. Speaking of gravestones, a good idea for a future project would be cleaning them from the moss and dirt covering the fronts on some of them.
What do you think is already well taken care of?
Surprisingly the cemetery is surrounded by a wall with a gate and a door. The gate remains closed but the door is open for visitors to enter.
There wasn’t much litter, considering that it is so overgrown, we thought it would be used as a local garbage yard.
Thank you very much for participation, your help and time,
BEIS MEDRASH ELYON, UK
Elyon is a high school in Barnet, North London educating 78 Jewish boys in the 11-16 year age group. The character of the school is Orthodox Jewish with a strong emphasis of equipping young men with both a secular and strong religious development.
Following the introduction from the school’s benefactor Mt Akiva Adler, the school has expressed a long term interest in the learn-and-do project.
History is normally handed down by generational transfer. The Holocaust decimated the population and emigration reinforced the gap. The physical evidence in cemeteries and martyr sites was left behind, with no one/not enough to preserve the legacy or make the information available for transmission.
A key aspect of the Holocaust is the lesson for humanity of the importance of values, consideration for others and transnational checks and balances against tyrannical behavior of any unique national government.
The program gives The learn-and-do education program challenges the new generation to reflect on their heritage and their commitment to communal affairs. It develops change of attitude by formal lectures coupled with the emotional shock of exposure to the killing fields when collecting up-to-date condition reports and photographs of sites
The programs gives multiple opportunities to Youth to investigate Holocaust history, and to volunteer
o to capture data or perform field condition reports
o to participate in interactive learning programs in their region with reflection on the actions and values of their own family
A presentation of previous education trips was made at the Elyon school in July 2015, as a result of which the Elyon school is sending a team of boys in spring 2016 to join forces with Odessa Tikva school in filed trips in the Odessa region of Ukraine