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15/05 2011

Trip to Jewish roots as a way to yourself


April 28 to May 4, 2011, within the frames of the project  "Masa Shorashim (" Back to the Roots"), realized under support of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Education of the State of Israel, students of the schools  of ORT network in the FSU have visited several cities in Ukraine: Kiev - Rovno - Berditchev - Lviv - Brody - Chernivtsi - Buchach - Medzhybozh. Students were able to see firsthand what they had been told by the teacher on the lessons of history, culture and traditions of the Jewish people, a special course on Holocaust, and to return to their roots.

Within six days, continuously moving from place to place, accompanied by experienced guides, they were acquainted with the history of cities and towns, visited the former synagogues, the old Jewish cemeteries, researched matsevs (tombstones), met with the Rabbis, learned about the modern life of the Jewish communities that have still existed.

The trip was not a fun walk, because even at home, the information of the locations of future visits of expedition had been collected - all were about to see firsthand and after return to share their impressions and experiences.

And the buses during the transfers such movies as "Babi Yar" and others were shown and discussed, prepared in advance dramatizations of the lives of Jews were presented, poems sounded.

In Czernovtsy, on the Day of Holocaust and Heroism of European Jewry, memorial evening prepared by the teachers was held. The children were shocked. Pinching violin sounded, candles lit, soft female voice singing a sad song. The students themselves could not cope with tears and strong emotional experiences, they had to be comforted. And then, sounding anthem of Israel, which gives hope that the days of the Holocaust will never happen again in our history.
The next morning two minute siren sounded - growing children stood, heads bowed, and tried to keep screw-on eyes with tears.

A trip to Ukraine in 2011 has left an indelible mark in the childrens memory and hearts. This is something that they will carry on in his entire life. And these experiences they will pass on to their children and grandchildren.


"Taking part in the trip Masa Sharoshim in Ukraine, I felt even more strongly that they belong to the Jews. Now I want to ask the relatives about how they lived before. Want to learn the language, even ride to the old Jewish sites and learn more about the traditions, holidays. In general, somehow take part in Jewish life "- Fedor Mozhaev, school 1540, Moscow (Moscow Technological School ORT).

 "I felt like a Jew, I want to go to these places again. When I will have my kids, I sure will pass them along this route "- Alexander Freidkin, ORT Technology Lyceum named after BZ Herzl, Chisinau.

 "We were able to return to their roots, learn how Jewish communities lived before the Holocaust, how to observe the tradition. I realized that during the Second World War the great culture of European Jews was destroyed, and this loss is irreparable, "- Polina Mogilevskaya, school 42, Samara, (ORT" Gesher ").

"I believe that the goal of the program, return to the roots has been achieved. We got into Jewish culture and tradition, this opened the curtain and find out something new for us. But the main thing - we soaked the spirit that prevailed in Ukraine at the time, and you can tell, have survived and have felt the same as the Jews of that era "- Ilya Spasskiy, school 42, Samara, (ORT" Gesher ").

"It was a real return to roots to help clear picture of the life of religious Jewish communities that existed in the cities we visited," - Kate Yermokhina, school 42, Samara, (ORT "Gesher").

"Janowska, Babi Yar ... I, along with my classmates held a ceremony to Janowska and it's really hard to talk about the Holocaust. As though he has visited all feel about "- Anna Dzhanibekova, school 12, Kazan, (ORT Mishpahteynu).

"Our legs were shaking, and tears dripped from our eyes. We knew that this trip will be difficult psychologically, but no one knew what it is, yet did not feel themselves. Yes, we all took place in the school seemed to have become accustomed to hear such things, but when you stand in the place where it all happened really add up feeling very different "- Maria Prudchenko, school 12, Kazan ( ORT Mishpahteynu).

 "Back in high school when I heard about all the tragic date in Jewish life, I certainly understand that this is all very sad and hard, but I did not take this into heart and did not feel this pain  in my heart. But this all changed when I went to Ukraine, as if I replaced. That's where I was filled soul in all historical accounts, the date .. I though for some part felt like it was hard for Jewish people, and became aware of how all this is tragic,"- Nastia Dushkevych, Jewish School named after S. Dubnov (ORT), Riga.

Meaningful participation in the project "Masa Shorashim" was for the teachers who accompanied the children on this trip. And not only that info, learned on tour, definitely come in handy on the lessons of history and traditions of the Jewish people. For the children, this trip has become a true "journey to the roots, the beginning of a new self-awareness and understanding of their national identity.

 "The value of such projects as" Masa Shorashim, huge, apart from a lot of impressions from the tour on such a beautiful city as Kiev, Lvov, Kamenetz-Podolsk, Chernivtsi, and others, such projects contribute to the return to the roots of his people, arouse interest in their stories, give a powerful impetus for the growth and formation of national consciousness, identity, of belonging to history, educate the younger generation of tolerance (especially when it comes to the Holocaust). Each year the students of our school go on the project "Mass Shorashim, and many bright and interesting experiences remain in memory for a long time. Such projects should continue to exist! "- Sophia Nayda, teacher culture and traditions of the Jewish people, school 42, Samara, (ORT" Gesher ")

"We sometimes think the younger generation of superficial, incapable of deep feelings. Trip to Jewish places of Ukraine showed the opposite: Our children deserve their ancestors and their people ..., - Elena Gromova, teacher ORT Technology Lyceum named after BZ Herzl, Chisinau.

"No one, even the most interesting lesson can not be compared with the opportunity to see for what so many told in the course of Jewish history and tradition. In terms of methodology and emotional, as well as the terms of the formation of Jewish identity, such trips, as well as preparations for them, it is extremely important and valuable "- Ilya Zhivotovsky, deputy headmaster of an ethno-cultural education, school 1540, Mr. Moscow (Moscow Technological School ORT).

"The value of the program Masa Shorashim overemphasized. Since the beginning of the school year, students receive in-depth knowledge of the history, culture, literature, everyday life of East European Jewry. Then, when the school receives the route of the forthcoming visit, work begins on the study of Jewish life in a particular region. This year - in Western Ukraine. And finally, the apotheosis of the program - a trip to the region. Can be long and detailed study theory, delve into the references and the Internet, listen to teachers. But it is quite another matter - see all the eyes, feel the spirit of the time, to pass on these significant places. In our opinion it is very important to use the experience gained by students on a trip to the future work of the school for the formation of the younger generation of respectful and reverent attitude to the history of their ancestors, patriotic consciousness, knowledge of traditions, lifestyles and activities of the Jewish people, the education of tolerance and identity of the people around them. In conclusion, we wish to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to all the organizers of this program "- Anna Ozer, the envoy of the State of Israel; Michael Bunimovich, a teacher of Traditions; Anastasia Morozova, Deputy Principal , school 12, Kazan, (ORT Mishpahteynu ").

"I would like to thank the Ministry of Education in Israel (Hephzibah), the Jewish Agency," Jewish Agency "ORTu, as well as all those who organized this project. We hope that next year the project will be continued "- Arkadii Sidorevsky, the envoy of the State of Israel; Eugene Sinelnik, teacher, Irina Bogdanova, teacher, school 274, St. Petersburg (ORT Yerushalaim).

"Standing on the Lviv Square or at the edge of the Babi Yar, sitting in a synagogue of legendary Medzhybozh or passing through the towns, I and my students saw some interesting, serious and tragic life of our ancestors. I think that the organizers of the program is completely managed the visit, which was for our students not only acquaintance with the history and culture of Ukraine and Jewish population had been lived there, but also in the first place, a journey inside themselves, to their Jewish roots. During these few days trip, I saw how the program Masa Shorashim well helping to shape the Jewish identity and national patriotism education "- Ludmila Friedman, teacher of Hebrew at the Jewish School named after S. Dubnov (ORT), Riga.

Article is based on the feedbacks from students and teachers participated in the trip "Masa Shorahim" 2011 

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