Bridging the past to present

My emotional trip with JCRC to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

By Dorit Fishman
Communications and Community Affairs Associate
She’s new to the JCRC team! (pictured on the right)

May 3, 2024 – It was a humbling experience to be in a full plane of 180-some passengers on JCRC’s latest one day trip to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jews were a minority among the middle, high school and college students, law enforcement, and the MN National Guard that made up this diverse cohort. I felt such gratitude for all those stepping outside of their personal history to keep the memory of the victims of the Holocaust alive.

Those who were students came to see for themselves what they’ve learned from textbooks: Standing in a real boxcar, seeing real video footage and artifacts brought the pages of their history books to life. Law enforcement and members of the National Guard toured the museum through a lens of what it means to say Never Again and live up to that promise through their role and responsibility to the safety of all.

Not only was our flight full, but so was the museum. Unlike any other museum I’ve been to, it was as if all those who walked through it became one people. We were all connecting on the same emotional wavelength. At the end of the exhibit was an amphitheater where visitors could sit and watch video testimonies of survivors. The seats and aisles were filled, and with tired legs from walking the entire exhibit, no one was in a rush to move on. We sat together, gasped together, laughed at moments, and cried at others. A woman sitting next to me handed me a tissue. There are tears on my keyboard just thinking of that experience of grieving together with strangers.

Each participant of this trip now has a bridge to the history of the Jewish experience, and they in turn can now help build knowledge and connection within their family, community, school, or workplace. At a time when it feels as though bridges around us are falling and burning, I think it bears emphasizing that real, in-person connections transcend the pull of politics, social media or peer pressure. We have the ability to build new bridges that are strong and sturdy. Everyone appreciated being there together, all were moved by what they saw, and many said that learning from this past will change their life and values in the present.

Kol Hakavod – way to go – to my JCRC colleagues for this incredible bridge they’ve built, from education to impact, that will echo widely far beyond this full flight. ­


This blog post was written as the kick off for Gesher (‘Bridge’ in Hebrew) – JCRC’s new monthly email newsletter.
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As the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community, JCRC builds relationships to fight antisemitism and bigotry; educates about Judaism, Israel, antisemitism, and the Holocaust; advocates for Jewish values and priorities; and safeguards our community.