Day 5: Lehava, Poland - Ashi Rayman


This morning, Lehava had an early start as we woke up and packed up all our suitcases to move hotels for next few nights. We woke up to a cold and snowy morning with everyone building snowmen! We had a quick breakfast, davened shacharit and rugged up for the day ahead. We had a two hour bus ride to our first location for the day. The bus ride was long everyone managed to catch up on some sleep, as well as pumping some music and just enjoying each other’s company. 

Although, the mood slowly changed as we arrived at the Belzec Death Camp. It was quite intense and the vibe was very different to the bus ride. Before we started walking to the memorial, Rav David, our tour guide spoke to us for a bit preparing us for what was to come. The experience was quite confronting and emotional for some, as we honoured those who perished. There, we said kaddish, and a student from the group - Missy Manoy, shared a few words about her family. Next we had time to explore the Belzec museum and walk around, just to take time to think to ourselves. Once we finished at the camp, the mood settled down, and we got back onto the bus, happy to be warm again and set off for the next long bus ride for the day, which was about three and a half hours to Rav Elimelech of Lizansk's grave. This was personally my highlight of the day. 

We met up with our friends from the other side, and it was so nice to see the other side again and as we went inside we were briefed and spoken to by the mads. The next part was truly powerful as we started a beautiful spontaneous tisch, right then and there. Adam Cohen lead us in the tisch and we all sang pouring our hearts it everyone together. It went on for quite a while and we sang many amazing songs. It was a very special and meaningful experience I will never forget. 

Our final destination for the day was another two hour bus ride away to the Children’s Forest, where we had finally arrived in anticipation and fear. This part of the day was the hardest for most, as we were told about how about 800 Jewish children were murdered there. We walked down to the memorial in the dark, freezing cold and muddy pathway with our flashlights and proudly wearing our Israeli flags on our backs. There, we had a chance to light a candle in honour of the children, Ilan Lavan and another student gave us a short speech which touched everyone. 

To end off we all screamed loud and proud "Am Yisrael Chai!". We then set off on our last bus ride of the day, and as we got on the bus, a surprise was awaiting us as we were all given special letters from our parents where some shed a tear. It was very special. We then got to dinner at a restaurant near our next hotel. After dinner we had a much-needed debrief session with our family groups about the day we just had. Finally we had a short yet cold walk to the hotel where we had some chill time before bed! Overall a heavy and intense day, but another day of learning and new experiences. Sending love to all our family back home in Sydney missing you all! Shabbat shalom

Day 6: Lehava, Poland - Damon Glick

Day 5: Netzach, Poland: Tali Gold