BOSTON, MA & PROVIDENCE, RI (Issued May 2015) -In April, 2012, Cranston, Rhode Island, native Jake Dinerman joined 11,000 other Jewish teens from around the world on a dramatic pilgrimage: the March of the Living (MOTL) The March of the Living 2016
The March of the Living is an international educational program in which thousands of Jewish teens from all over the world gather in Poland and Israel to share an experience that will change their lives.
That trip was a life-changer for Jake (motl.org/new-england). Now 21 and a Dean’s List member of Clark University’s Class of 2016, he decided to major in Psychology with concentrations in Holocaust & Genocide Studies and Law & Society. In his spare time, at every opportunity, he speaks to groups of all ages about his experience and lessons he hopes to share. He works as an office assistant at Clark’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and at the Law Office of Michael M. Franklin. He is interning at Community Legal Aid, also in Worcester.
This past April, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and liberation of the concentration camps, the 27th annual March of the Living drew thousands of 17 and 18 year-old teens from across the U.S. including New England who joined 11,000 others from 45 countries. Led by aging Holocaust survivors, they trekked a dramatic two-mile walk between the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of concentration camps on Holocaust Remembrance Day. A solemn service was punctuated by a candle-lighting ceremony led by Holocaust survivors. A week later, the group marched in Israel to mark Israel Independence Day. MOTL was attended this year by the Minister of Education and Women’s Affairs of Austria and by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. who lit two of the six torches at the end of the ceremony. Since 1988, over 220,000 young people have taken part in the March of the Living.
Jake Dinerman (shown in photo with fellow MOTL participant Emily Katz of Lincoln RI), said that participants go on to teach the lesson of ‘Never again,’ and other universal lessons of the Holocaust including the importance of fighting hatred, intolerance, racism and fascism. “Remembering is depressing. Remembering does hurt – but it connects you to the past,” he says. “There are no words that can even begin to explain what we saw and learned. Still, I implore every one to travel to these places of our people’s fall and rise and carry on the legacy of tradition, determination, faith, love, and most importantly, life.”
Urging teens to go in 2016, Jake added, “As survivors pass away, we must go and bear witness for them. It’s also a fantastic way to meet others from around the world, gain knowledge and develop bonds that will remain strong for years after. Participants come back with changed perspectives, understandings, and appreciations of life. Walking through the death camps together, then experiencing Israel is unforgettable and powerful beyond imagination.”
Speaking to potential scholarship donors, Jake said, “When you meet individuals that you helped send on the March, you’ll understand why the trip is so fantastic and crucial. It is so much more than a trip to Poland and Israel. It is so much more than a Jewish experience. The March of the Living is a human experience. No matter an individual’s reason for participating or donating, I’m sure they will share similar sentiments with me when it’s over.”