Dafna Avraham ('06)

Dafna Avraham (Ď06):  In the year since I participated in the Holocaust Remembrance Project, I started college at the University of California, Los Angeles. I have been pursuing two fields of study, pre-medicine and an interdepartmental mathematics and economics major, because I havenít yet made a definitive choice. I started volunteering at the UCLA Medical Center in hope of gaining insight into the life of a doctor, and Iíve also been active in the Jewish community at UCLA.

I have always identified strongly as a Jew and my family and I have been active in Jewish communal life. The incredible opportunity and experience of being part of the Holocaust Remembrance Project impacted me so strongly that my perspective on life matured and changed, and my Jewish identity as well as my appreciation and connectedness to world humanity grew significantly. I was old enough to realize the horrors of the Holocaust through the stories of the atrocities that the survivors witnessed and endured.

The contribution that these survivors made to my life in just a week gave me a deepened understanding of the magnitude of the loss of so many millions. The survivors who were on my trip are an amazing group of human beings. Their hearts are warm and caring, and they became my friends. They taught me, simply by living their own lives with optimism and meaning, how to better appreciate my own life. I am brought to tears with the understanding that 6 million is not just the number of those who were murdered; it is the number of lives that would have contributed to the goodness of the world and advancement of humankind.

With this sense of connectedness and deeper appreciation for my Judaism, I chose to study Hebrew during my first year at college. This inspired my mother to take a Hebrew class as well. Together we decided to travel to Jerusalem to study at the Hebrew University in an immersion Hebrew language course, and that is where I am writing to you from today! Being in Israel is an incredible experience, and Iíve gained so much insight into the history and culture of my people. I hope that by learning Hebrew and being aware of the issues in the Middle East, I can be a force in the pursuit of world peace. In this way, the memory of those who were lost in the Holocaust and the inspiration of the survivors have compelled me to make my life significant, as every life is a gift and every life can change the world.