On Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) this year we marked the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. For the past six years, Dror Israel’s “Rebellion of Hope” initiative has been teaching that we remember the past for the sake of the future. We “rebel” against injustice in the world and within the Jewish people. And we insist on the “hope” of building a better society. We create living memory for the here and now.
This year, “Rebellion of Hope” reached over 1,000 Akko residents over a four-day period. We achieved this milestone by bringing programs to nine elementary and middle schools, three municipal youth centers, and holding multiple public memorial ceremonies at locations such as The Akko Jam and City Hall.
Michal, one of 15 ninth-graders who helped bring “Rebellion of Hope” to sixth-grade students, summed up her experience as follows:
“Being an educator means being a leader. It means leading those younger than you towards a better education, to respect, to be better people. It means giving them values beyond Yom HaShoah. Introducing them to this content gave them a chance to grow as people. And the fact that we are young too, not that much older than them, means that they feel comfortable with us and are able to open up. Many of these kids got a chance to get to know us and it gave them role models to look up to.
It was a tough day for me. But it was incredibly rewarding. You see how they understand things, how they take it seriously. It’s amazing to see it happen in front of your eyes, it makes you want to educate more. You learn new things about yourself, and about the kids, you learn how to approach them. I thought that I would stand up in front of them and stutter but it wasn’t like that at all. I want to be a junior youth counselor now.”.
As we watched, Michal mature into her new role as a youth educator our faith in the future grew.
Our hope for “Rebellion of Hope” is that it continues to expand, reaching new communities and strengthening our collective will to honor the memory of the dead by resisting injustice and spreading hope for the living. We thank everyone who has helped make this program possible.