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Blog Station
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    In my expectations for Poland, everyone told me to be prepared for a really emotional week full of tears and sadness.

    Posted by Zohar Steinmetz on 11.21.19
    In my expectations for Poland, everyone told me to be prepared for a really emotional week full of tears and sadness. I thought that the second we visited a camp I would be bawling. To my surprise, I didn’t have the reaction I thought I would. I didn’t cry at every sad or gloomy site. Some things affecting me more than others and some of them were very surprising.
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    I am so incredibly lucky to have had the ability to travel to Poland...

    Posted by Margot Cohen on 11.20.19
    My Holocaust education in the past was a bit confusing, for lack of a better word. In one way I knew a lot. I am a Jew, how could I not know the history of my people?
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    What exactly is a living classroom?

    Posted by Margot Cohen on 11.20.19
    This is why Israel is a living classroom. Because I’m not just sitting at a desk, I go out into the world and see and experience the things that I learn about. By being in the land, I am connecting with the Jews who walked the same land, and discovering my Jewish identity.
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    Living classroom, Washington State,
  • Washington State

    Poland: Both living and dead

    Posted by Emilio Gandolffi-Levine on 11.20.19
    A year ago today, Poland was a strange concept in my mind. I know that there were once millions of Jews in Poland, yet I had heard nothing but horror stories. I didn't know anything about the lives of the Jews living in Poland, nor did I understand the weight of the lives lost in the Shoah.
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    Poland,
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    From the ashes, we will rise.

    Posted by Esther Yankelevitch on 11.20.19
    When I heard that we would be taking a tiyul to Poland I really didn’t know what to think or to expect. Was it wrong to be excited? Was it OK to not cry? What if it’s not the experience I had hoped for? These were all questions whirring around in my head.
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    Poland,
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    I had many expectations for our journey to Poland.

    Posted by Jules Cohen on 11.18.19
    After all this information and learning about the tragedy of the Holocaust, I had many expectations for our journey to Poland. I expected Poland to be so dark and gloomy. I hoped I could see the beauty in Poland, even though such a horrific event happened in this country.
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    I feel more connected to Judaism and the need for a strong Jewish homeland than ever.

    Posted by Eli Isaac on 11.17.19
    As I reflect back on my week in Poland, I realize how much I learned compared to my what I knew before. I started studying the Shoah in third grade at Seattle Jewish Community School, but I didn't really get the big picture until now. Before Poland and the ten hour class period I only got the catch-phrases of World War Two (i.e. six million Jews, gas chambers, and the Nazi party). Now coming out of the trip I feel like I can have an educated conversation with anybody about World War Two.
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    November 3, 2019. I along with all my classmates headed to Poland.

    Posted by Ciona Antolin on 11.17.19
    I thought Poland was such a life changing trip for me, being able to walk around all the cities and camps was such different scenery. The camps were like a different world, fenced in by some barbed wire and wood. Throughout the entire week my main thought was just confusion.
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    Poland,
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    Poland was not an easy experience.

    Posted by Noa Chesal on 11.17.19
    Poland was not an easy experience. It was an emotional and educational opportunity that Jewish kids my age usually don’t get. There were a lot of ups and downs. As I learned about the Shoah in depth, it changed my perspective on life.
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    Poland,
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    Never again should we let the world threaten us.

    Posted by Salomon Assouline on 11.17.19
    When I arrived at Birkenau, a full 75 years after he did, I was stunned to see one of the most beautiful sights ever. It was like the Devil cloaked in an angel’s outfit. Birkenau was an extraordinarily majestic sight. It was also massive. The immensity of Birkenau made it so hard for me to connect to the fact that I was walking the same ground that my grandfather worked and that my relatives were murdered. To be honest, I was so overwhelmed by the size that I felt that I was just walking in a park. There were only very few memoirs of its torturous past. The latrines, cattle car, tracks, barbed wire, guard towers, and destroyed crematorium are all that’s left. In a different world, it could have been a campground. The literal only place in all of Birkenau that I felt sharp emotion that wasn’t anger at the hyper-casual people and disrespectful teenagers was when I told the story of my grandfather at a pit that he may have worked in. But even then, I didn’t feel much.
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    When we went to Auschwitz we got to look through “ the book of names” ...

    Posted by Korynn Levy on 11.17.19
    When we went to Auschwitz we got to look through “ the book of names” some called it the book of death and that was just a horrendous feeling seeing this huge book with hundreds and hundreds of pages. In the book of names, I have never seen so many of my last name in the same place and multiple pages of my last name and I thought to myself any of those could have been related to me or it could have been me in this time I could have gone through this suffering.
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    Poland,
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    About a week ago, I returned from Poland.

    Posted by Carlos Gamboa on 11.17.19
    I believe this journey taught me a lesson not only about the country, but also about life; it is not only impossible, but often downright incorrect to see things in black and white. Going forward, I will try my best to consider every side of conflicts and form accurate, well-educated opinions without making generalizations or ignoring inconvenient complexities.
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    Before AMHSI, I had surface level knowledge of Poland and the Shoah.

    Posted by Annabelle Friedman on 11.17.19
    Before AMHSI, I had surface level knowledge of Poland and the Shoah. To put that statement into perspective, I couldn't even point out Poland on a map, and I didn't know the difference between death, concentration, and labor camps. What I did know was that Poland had an immense and thriving Jewish community however, the majority of them were killed when put into ghettos and camps. In fact, my great grandparents emigrated from Poland because it was too dangerous to be living as a Jew there.
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    Poland,
  • Washington State

    The past week in Poland was definitely the most intense and emotional experience of my life...

    Posted by Esther Polyakovsky on 11.13.19
    The past week in Poland was definitely the most intense and emotional experience of my life and it is one that I will remember forever. In one short week, we saw, learned and experienced so much, not only about the Holocaust but about Jewish life in Poland throughout history. Every day was long and filled with traveling, notes, sites, and many emotions. In our journey through Polish Jewish history, we spent a lot of time in cemeteries, and through this trip, I learned what a truly special place a cemetery is. Previously, cemeteries were always solemn, slightly uncomfortable places for me, where you pay your respects and don’t raise your voice. But last week we visited all different kinds of grave sites, creating a wide variety of emotional experiences.
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    Poland,
  • Student Blog

    A Student's Poem from Poland

    Posted by AMHSI Student on 11.10.19
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    Poland,
  • Photo Journalism Blog

    Rachel and Chalutzim

    Posted by AMHSI Student on 10.27.19
    Today we went to the Kinneret and went to the first Kibbutz and to the grave of Rachel, a famous poet from the Chalutzim. This tiyul was very inspiring because I was able to learn about the first people that came to Israel with a vision, and now we are in Israel to show that their work was not for nothing. A moment on this Tiyul that was very meaningful was describing the land around the Kinneret then reading what it used to look like.
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  • Washington State

    Living in Israel for two months I have picked up on some tips and tricks to get around.

    Posted by Eli Isaac on 10.22.19
    Living in Israel for two months I have picked up on some tips and tricks to get around. One big tip I can give you in Israel is to follow your gut if something seems off don’t do it. Another tip is always asking if you know someone living/lived in Israel, don’t hesitate to text them to ask if they think the price is right or anything else you need. I found that most people in Israel are very friendly and open to helping you when asked. Never feel pressured by the seller to buy something from them, they are relentless and very good at persuasion if you let your guard down.
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    Cultures, Washington State,
  • Washington State

    Living in Israel is different than living in Seattle, or any other place in the US.

    Posted by Esther Polyakovsky on 10.22.19
    Living in Israel is different than living in Seattle, or any other place in the US. It’s not just the fact that signs and menus are in Hebrew or that Hebrew is the language floating around the streets instead of English. There is a culture difference. Israelis are more assertive and confident, there is less patience for indecision and you don’t have to say sorry when you’re pushing through a crowd.
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    AMHSI Campus, Cultures, Washington State,
  • Stephen Muss (Miami)

    Moving to a new country can be hard there are so many new or different things all around you.

    Posted by Zohar Steinmetz on 10.22.19
    Moving to a new country can be hard there are so many new or different things all around you. You have a new currency, new foods, and new people everywhere you go. There are 35 of us who “moved” to Israel for 4 months. In the time of 2 months that we have been here, we have learned so much about adjusting to a new lifestyle and whole new country.
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    Cultures, Miami,
  • Washington State

    I have learned so much not only about myself but how I work and interact with others as well

    Posted by Ciona Antolin on 10.22.19
    In my time here at HSI, I have learned so much not only about myself but how I work and interact with others as well. Finding a balance of studying, working out, spending time with friends, and living a healthy life is a challenge, a good one that I know is preparing me for the future.
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    AMHSI Campus, Cultures, Washington State,