By Rabbi Moshe Shur
Students from more than 18 colleges in the metropolitan New York area joined together to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. IA diverse group of African American, Jewish, Hispanic, Persian, Russian, West African, Haitian, Japanese, Muslim and Chinese students participated in the 10th annual multicultural program, sponsored by the David and Linda Taub family in cooperation with New York Hillels.
With two buses and 85 participants, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., on Saturday evening and spent the night at a local hotel. Sunday morning after a tour of the Capitol, the students and staff visited the museum for five hours after a brief orientation session. The self-guided tour allowed the students to visit the museum at their own pace.
Students then attended a debriefing session held at the George Washington University Hillel led by Lynn Williams, the director of community partnerships at the USHMM. The students spent more than an hour and a half expressing their feelings about their experience at the museum.
"I loved the trip and my experience at the museum. I watched so many people grow in such a short period of time," said one student.
"It was a very insightful experience. I thought that the videotapes of the survivors and their stories were the most effective part of the museum.They touched me deeply," added another.
Some students spoke about the exhibit on Darfur and questioned how the world could stand by and let this happen. After the conversation, the students were presented with a gift from the Taub family. They each received a copy of "A Promise to Remember" by Dr. Michael Berenbaum, a member of the Queens College Hillel and the USHMM boards.
Rabbi Moshe Shur is the executive director of Queens College Hillel.