Israel: The Home We Made for Ourselves

Sydney Warnick

TRY ‘24 is back! Poland was one of the most memorable experiences of my entire life. In my opinion, everyone should go to Poland at least once. As Betsalel said, “It’s our job to remember.” We should see first-hand what our ancestors went through, and we must share their stories. We can never let the world forget what they put us through, simply for being Jews.

Standing in the Lupachowa forest by the shtetl, Tykocin, everything hit me. Looking over the three small hills that are filled with bones and untold stories left me speechless. No one is left to remember these people because entire families were taken there and killed. Six million Jews were murdered in the Shoah and one of our biggest struggles is trying to name all of them. We can’t. 

Right now in ICC, we are learning about the War of Independence. People from all over, including those who suffered in the Holocaust, came together to fight for our state. We learned about the convoys and we visited the Ayalon Institute, an underground bullet factory which was in use from 1945-1948. Betsalel told us that Israeli soldiers never ran out of ammunition during the war and it was all thanks to this secret bullet factory and the people who came together there.  When we got back from Poland, I wrote in my journal that Israel is our real home. It’s not the home we grew up in, the home where our ancestors were murdered, the home we were exiled from, or the home we were hated in. It’s the home we made for ourselves, fought for, and the home that we are deeply connected to forever.

When we were walking around Tel Aviv on Tuesday all I could think about was how beautiful it was. Everyone, including me, was so happy. We ate pizza and strolled on the port. We sang happy birthday to Aviva and did mincha as we watched the sunset. It was such a beautiful day. I’m overjoyed that our promised land is the most gorgeous place in the world. After all we have been through, we deserve a place that is as strong and united as Israel is, and we got it. I’m so lucky that I get to be in Israel at this time and I’ve never been prouder to be a Jew.

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