Thirteen Goals of the March of the Living
1. To remember the Six Million Jews who perished in the Shoah.
2. To pay tribute to the courage of those who survived the Holocaust – who rebuilt their lives despite the haunting memories of the past – and to be the bearers of their memories, the witnesses for the witnesses.
3. To remember the millions of other innocent victims of Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies during WWII.
4. To recognize and learn from the altruistic actions of the “righteous among the nations”, who teach us to never be a bystander in the face of oppression.
5. To honor the heroic Allied veterans and partisan fighters who fought to liberate Europe from the hands of Nazi tyranny during WWII.
6. To never again allow for the unchecked rise of the menace of antisemitism.
7. To never again allow any kind of discrimination directed by any individual or group against another to gain strength. Given the Jewish people’s historic experience of persecution, our tradition teaches that the Jewish people have a special responsibility to oppose intolerance (Love the stranger because you were once strangers – Deut. 10:19), and to teach the world that all human beings are created btselem elohim (in the image of G-d – Gen. 1:27), and deserve equal dignity and respect.
8. To inspire participants to commit to building a world free of oppression and intolerance, a world of freedom, democracy and justice, for all members of the human family.
9. To familiarize students with the rich Jewish heritage that existed in Poland and other countries in pre-WWII Eastern Europe. The goal is to inspire students to consider leading Jewish lives today that reflect many of the diverse values and traditions of pre-war European Jewry. Students should also learn about the complex history of the Jewish presence in these countries – both positive and negative.
10. To understand the importance of the existence of Israel:
• as the spiritual center and homeland of the Jewish people. through the lesson that Jews will never again allow themselves to be defenseless.
• by developing a love for the people of Israel and an appreciation of the hardships and sacrifice endured by her citizens on behalf of Israel.
• through the understanding of the concept of Meshoah Le’tkumah (from destruction to rebirth). Despite the devastation of the Holocaust, the Jewish people never gave up their belief in building a better tomorrow. Rather they rose up, against all odds, and established the State of Israel—the hope and future of the Jewish people.
11. Jewish Unity – To instill in students a love for Am Yisrael, an appreciation for and connection to, the Jewish people in every land, throughout the ages and in contemporary times.
12. Tikkun Olam – To remind the students of the Jewish peoples’ responsibility to be Or Lagoyim, a light unto the nations, by reaching out to people of other faiths and cultures, and by mending our too often shattered world, through providing our help and assistance to those most in need.
13. The final goal is not so much to learn from or about history – but to enter into history. By visiting Eastern Europe, young Jewish students are taking part in a commemorative act, which demonstrates to the world that the death of six million of our people, and so many other innocent victims, has been marked and will never be forgotten by the Jewish people.