Shem Olam Faith & the Holocaust Institute for Education, Documentation & Research


Community and Student Trips from the Diaspora to Poland

Most of the Poland trips' participants are high school students, and Shem Olam is involved in several ways. However, we ask ourselves if this indeed is the most appropriate age to embark upon such a journey. Shem Olam believes the trip to Poland is more beneficial at a later stage in life, when students are attending university or college, and are more mature in both mind and spirit. At this age, they have a capacity for more in-depth learning, are more emotionally mature, and above all, seek deeper meaning in their individual experiences.
For the past several years, Shem Olam has run a joint program with the Nefesh Yehudi Organization. Nefesh Yehudi sends as many as two thousand students annually on week-long trips to Poland in conjunction with various student associations and student societies operating on campuses. Prior to these trips, the students undergo suitable preparation at Shem Olam, including a fascinating program exploring Jewish history from the era of prosperity to the period of decline during the Holocaust. The trip which follows combines in-depth knowledge and insight, and becomes an emotional experience for them. During the trip, much time is dedicated to address fundamental issues such as the nature of good and evil, the capacity to give, Jewish values etc.
As these students return from their trip abroad, they harbor a plethora of moral and spiritual values just as they begin to face life's challenges. Moreover, most participants develop a sense of duty and desire to be more socially committed. This Jewish identity process continues via a series of meetings and activities when they later return to visit Israel, including visits to other communities and historical sightseeing tours.
The program also offers three-day seminars in Jewish communities around the world.
Many students in Diaspora communities feel great importance in participating in Shem Olam's Poland trip due to its unique program. Participating communities include:
Englewood, NJ
Lawrence, Nassau County, NY
Yavneh, LA

Including Jewish student groups from the following countries:
The United States of America

Due to their satisfaction with Shem Olam's unique approach, participants have routinely become emissaries of the program. As a result, Shem Olam has received many additional requests for its activities.
Over the past two years, Israeli students studying in Lithuania, Berlin and elsewhere, have also participated in short experiential weekends in Poland dealing with Jewish identity.