Alumni Reflections: Elisa Behar Lemmer, South Florida, 1992

What is the name of the March of the Living Delegation / Group that you traveled with? South Florida

Year(s) attended: 1992

What was the most memorable moment of your experience? We were honored to have a Holocaust survivor, my friend’s grandfather, traveling with us on our bus. We had arrived in Birkenau and were standing alongside him when he stopped at a spot and said, “This is the last place I saw my father.” He then wrapped himself in a tallit and proceeded to say Kaddish for his family. Hearing Alex identify the spot where he last saw his family was hair-raising. I would be returning my family, but he was never able to be reunited with his. That was the most memorable moment of the trip. I still get goose bumps when I think about it.   

What impact did Poland have on you? There is simply no substitute for seeing the camps where the Holocaust atrocities took place.  

What impact did Israel have on you? Coming out of a place that was literally and figuratively gray – a place that was the death of humanity in the 1930’s and 1940’s and arriving in Israel, that is both literally and figuratively colorful is indescribable. Israel was a reaffirmation that the Jewish people didn’t die, that Hitler failed and that like its anthem, there is hope!

How were you impacted by the overall experience? It has been 25 years since I marched. Since the March, I have been to college, law school, gotten married, and had children. I have traveled the world. Still, the March of the Living remains one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. The March of the Living is a once-in-a-lifetime, transformative experience.  

What else would you like to share about your experience? Attending the March of the Living allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful people with whom I keep in touch to this day. For any teen who is deciding between a “fun” teen tour and this trip – this is a no-brainer. The March of the Living cannot be replicated. This is the time to go, and show the world that “Am Yisrael Chai!”

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