Here's the thing. In the winter of 2010, I will be turning 40 years old. It's a big deal for me as I never thought I would live past 30 anyway, so I want to do something very meaningful that will be a testament to the value of one's life and how lucky we all are in most respects for what we have and take for granted. I want to go to Oświęcim, Poland and experience visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. I want to take part in a death march all the way through the entirety of the camp and experience what those people had to go through in those horrific days.
I want to learn Kaddish and recite it at the death wall of Block 11 in honor of the people who believed until the end that G-d would save them, and place a pebble from my own backyard at the base of the wall while I cry until I've run dry and cannot any longer.
I've wanted to go to Auschwitz since I was in the 8th grade and learned about it in World History class, going to the public library and reading everything I could get my hands on for weeks at a time trying to understand the how and why such a thing was even possible. I've written about it in harsh detail, I have a felt understanding of it from a literary standpoint and I've read a great body of work on the Holocaust, but I really don't think you can understand the gravity of it until you're standing there in it.
I want to mourn all of those who were lost, including MY people. This is a deep, urgent need I have had for many years to do this and I want to use the occasion of my 40th birthday to finally do it.
Four years and I'm going. I welcome any of you who would like to go on this journey with me, I would be honored by your company and it would bond us in ways that would otherwise be impossible.