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15 Minutes of Fame

Doing good deeds helps you get to good places in life. It can help you land a nice job in a good location, for example. Or it can provide you with the best reward that can come from volunteering – the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in seeing your actions make a difference in someone’s life. Well, today it also got us our 15 minutes of fame.

A Job Well Done

Excitement and work had us scampering throughout the city of Lake Worth today, as we faced new challenges and tasks.

Getting to Work

Today was our first day of real work! Sure, the road trip down to Florida had its challenges, but we managed to overcome those obstacles and reach our destination safe and sound. Our initial day at the construction site, on the other hand, could have been a completely different story.

Coming Together for a Purpose

Early Saturday morning, we, the Notre Dame College students volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in West Palm Beach, Fla., this week, scurried away from the bitterly cold weather of Cleveland and fled south in search for something more than warm temperatures, sunny days and beautiful beaches. After all, if we learned anything from last year’s trip to Jacksonville, it was that Florida’s weather is perfectly capable of mimicking Cleveland’s. We came here for a much greater purpose. We came here to help build a home for people less fortunate than us.

Photos Tell their Own Story

 Below are some photos of recent trips we've taken and things I've seen.

The Many Forms of Jewish Resistance

I’ve  asked myself many times, “Didn’t the Jews resist what Hitler was doing to them? Surely millions of people could have done more to stop the genocide.” One thing I didn’t realize was that most Germans didn’t care what happened to the Jews. Many Catholics in Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania hated Jews and actually murdered their own Jewish neighbors when Hitler took over their countries. So it was a terrible time for Jews all over Eastern Europe. Of course, there were some who helped Jews. At least 23,000 who we know about. But that’s a small number relative to millions of people who did nothing.

Could the Jews Have Escaped?

I’ve always wondered if the Jews could have escaped from the Nazis. I think a lot of people would ask this same question. Several of our scholars have touched on the answer, and then I found a resource here in Jerusalem that gave more ways to answer it. Here are some ways the Jews DID try to escape and what happened. Remember, it’s a complicated question and I don’t pretend to have all the answers here. There’s a related question that I’ll answer in a later blog, “Did the Jews resist?”  

Testimony of Judith, a Holocaust Survivor

Today, July 20, our institute group spent a couple hours with four Holocaust survivors. First, they shared just a bit of their experiences during the Holocaust. Then, each one of us could choose one of them to speak with more personally, which meant that each one of the survivors talked to nine or 10 of us and answered individual questions. I’d like to tell the story of one of them in this blog entry.

Where Was God in the Holocaust?

The Learning Center here at Yad Vashem is a darkened room with a circle of about 20 computers and a pair of headphones each in a kind of carrel. Inside the circle of carrels, invisible from the computer desks, is a circle of benches and a large screen that continually shows 17 FAQs about the Holocaust.

Testimony by a Friend of Anne Frank

One of our most touching sessions so far has been hearing from a Holocaust survivor who was a close friend of Anne Frank and today lives in Israel.