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March of the Living and Israel Forever: A Shared Mission

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

March of the Living and The Israel Forever Foundation share a common goal: to foster a deepened connection to Jewish life, history, and identity for people all over the world.

Identification with Israel is a natural extension of the perpetuation of Holocaust memory, as is a shared commitment to the continuity of the Jewish People and our connection to our ancestral homeland.

In the spirit of this shared mission, the two organizations are joining together to recognize the nearly 250,000 participants and alumni of the March of the Living over the years as Virtual Citizens of Israel.

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, March of the Living World Chair, firmly believes that declaring one’s commitment to Israel by becoming a Virtual Citizen of Israel™ will further confirm and strengthen a stronger bond with Israel and her people.

"With increasing Anti-Semitic attacks occurring worldwide and daily assaults against the future of the State of Israel, this initiative is timely and will serve as a meaningful way for not only March of the Living participants, but all people in countries around the worldto declare their commitment to helping ensure the future of memory and of Israel. Our alumni will send a clear message of dedication and loyalty to the past, to the present and to the future”.

Celebrating 27 years of continued success and with alumni in over 150 communities around the globe, the March of the Living is one of the world’s most successful Holocaust education programs, bringing students from around the world to march from Auschwitz-Birkenau on Yom HaShoah in memory of all Holocaust victims. After visiting other places of Nazi persecution and sites of Jewish life in Poland, many participants travel on to Israel for experiences that connect the memory of destruction with the memory of our heritage in the ancient homeland of the Jewish People.

As a long-time educator for March of the Living groups, The Israel Forever Foundation Executive Director, Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, believes the partnership between these two organizations is an important step to helping the worldwide community grasp the continuity of memory as a conduit for a strong connection with Israel.

"Too often, there is a disconnect between the suffering of the Jews in Europe and the creation of Israel as a state where Jews could live free. Most today take for granted, even in wake of increased terror against Jews around the world, the need for a Jewish State and a Jewish army.

"The idea of destruction to redemption is more challenging for young Jews to face today as a result of the continued propaganda and demonization of Israel. It is our job as educators to aid them in acquiring the understanding, respect and pride necessary to perpetuate an identity that incorporates both aspects of our national experience."

We are most excited about this continued relationship and have every confidence in its global reach and success as March of the Living graduates continue will serve as ambassadors of goodwill to their local communities and reassure a stronger public commitment to Israel.

For more information on this important partnership, or to join in our efforts, please contact Dr. Rosenman at tzros@netvision.net.il or Dr. Heideman at elanayael@israelforever.org


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Tags: Holocaust, VCI, Israel Engagement, Causes, Jewish Identity, History, People and Society, Yom Hashoah

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