Levenson (Ď04): To be quite honest, it had been a very long
time since I had thought about my experience in Washington D.C as a
winner of the Holocaust Remembrance essay contest. There is no doubt
that the experience has shaped my life to date, yet, with the onset of
college, the summer of 2004 slipped into my memories waiting to be
chosen by my consciousness once again. Coincidentally, while at a
restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan recently, I bumped into
Dan Mascai, a fellow essay finalist, on his 21st birthday. The next day,
I received an invitation to this yearís awards ceremony and an email
from Holland & Knight asking me what Iíve been up to. Suddenly, my
memories awoke from their slumber with the images of me and the nine
other finalists who all happened to be male. Needless to say, I had an
The young men adopted me as their temporary sister. As a young woman in the 21st century western society, one can often be blinded by petty and inconsequential issues. I remember that I was having a particularly difficult time adjusting from the tumultuous semester I had spent in Prague during my junior year of high school. Every single person who was part of my time in Washington D.C eased my transition and reminded me of the joys of life and more importantly the value in remembering, respecting and understanding the Holocaust.
Now I am only one month away from my 20th birthday. I am a rising junior at Haverford College where I run track and cross country, perform in musicals and plays, kick-box and pursue a psychology major with a minor in anthropology.
As I look back upon my award winning essay, I see that its importance to me and to my family increases with each passing day. On April 5th of 2007 my Grandma Ida, who was the foundation of my holocaust remembrance essay, passed away. She had been in the hospital unconscious for 2 weeks. At first, I had not wanted to visit her while she was sick in the hospital. I didnít want to see the woman I always remembered as strong, vivacious and inspiring in that state. In the end, I visited her two days before her death. As she slept I sang the Hebrew song Eli Eli to her. The song prays in hopes that the sand, the sea, the rustling of the water, the lightening in the sky and the prayer of man never end.
The Holocaust Remembrance Project essay contest helps to ensure that they never do.