Tuesday, April 29, 2014


On a stage yesterday, standing 20 feet away from the crematorium that incinerated 1.5 million of my people in Auschwitz-Birkenau we did much more that deliver a call to action and new process to the 15,000 assembled there.

We actually brought and will continue to bring through P6M...
Light to the dark.
Energy to the void.
Creation to the loss.
Life to the death.
Action to the remembrance.
Hope to the sadness.
Color to the gray.
Generation to the frustration.
Positive to the negative.
Healing to the shattered.
Commitment to the question.
New relief to the survivors.
Young strength to carry the torch.

I felt a shift in that place, a light breaking through.
This is the beginning of a new way to look at remembrance, memorial and what humanity's capable of... and all about us (you included) creating what's possible forward.

Capture what that means for you, right now....

Monday, April 28, 2014

Today was the March of the Living, and Project6Million was there! However, as I try to think of words to describe the impact we made today and how we were impacted, I am stumped. What words could possibly be adequate to depict the sea of blue jackets and shining faces overtaking one of the darkest places in Jewish history.
Instead, I will share a poem that was written today by a woman I met on The March. Her name is Judie Berger, and after I explained P6M to her, she promptly composed this:

Among the bricks and stones and pain
We come to show we live again.
We cannot be diminished- we will not go away
The Judaism rises in generations every day.

The world will spin- we all will grow
The world gets smaller- as you know
But the Jew survives- and we know why
For all the earth- Am Yisrael Chai

The importance of this place

Today we will stand in the spot where 1.5 million Jews were marched to their executions. 
We'll deliver a message to 13,000 people including 10,000 teenagers... to capture the moment, to stake a stand for their part in creating a world which can't allow atrocity like this place's history to ever exist again.  We'll bring a process that allows that moment of awakening for them to last, and inspire future moments, choices as we bring their statement back to them to shape their thinking in 2 wks, 6 months, a year, 2 years, etc.

I stood last night with the Sam Ron, the 90 year old Holocaust survivor who was like my uncle growing up, who taught me the meaning of the word survivor my whole life in the way he's lived his, who always said that it's not about revenge but about creating something else. I was able to look him in the eye last night to tell him with authenticity that we're carrying on his torch, with passion, honor and energy. This new generation will create something different. 

I stood on these tracks yesterday and cried again, where the urge to do something hit me in the first place three years ago as I walked them with some very special teens, including P6M's cofounder, the grandchild of four survivors.
Today 13,000 people will gather here, and we'll help them capture the moment into commitment to what's possible.

This is the place where so much ended. And this is the place where so much can begin. 
I keep coming back to the word honor, which doesn't do it justice. The gravity of it all is staggering.

Let's go.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Watch Project6Million LIVE!!!

Tomorrow is the day! Project6Million will be speaking live to all 13,000 participants on this year's March of the Living and YOU can watch it LIVE! 
Check out the link below at 9 A.M. EST tomorrow and make your statement at www.project6million.org!


On a train full of other Jews for three hours in Poland. 
Later today we’ll be at Birkenau. 
This is a beautiful day, we’re in a nice compartment on a nice train, and we’re having a great conversation with lovely people we just met today from Israel.
And yet it’s hard to shake the images that keep coming into my head as I watch this country whizzing by through the window and listen to conversations happening around me in languages I don’t speak mixed with the unmistakable sound of the train tracks under us. 
1.5 million Jews were brought from their home towns and countries directly to their death on trains straight into Birkenau. Trains in this country were used as the perfectly efficient way to move people quickly, disorientingly, en mass to their deaths.

I am grateful to be on this train today, not then, going to bring and commit to more life and a world which will not allow the hatred which perpetrated those deaths.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Productivity and Reflection

Today, Project6Million's second day in Poland, was a big day. I know that people often refer to days as big days, but today really was quite a big day. We began with the launch of the updated edition of our website, Project6Million.org (in case you didn't get here from there), equipped with all of the new tools for our statement process. The update allows the uploading of images as a form of statement. I know I can speak for all of us when I say how much we are looking forward to seeing the expanded potential of our project be fully realized.
We continued our day by meeting and speaking with a delegation of teenagers  from New York and New Jersey.  They shared with us some of their experiences from the first few days of the trip which we connected back to the project. Their enthusiasm and understanding for what we are doing was inspiring, and I am looking forward to reading their statements!
We then proceeded to share Project6Million with the adult delegation from Mexico.  It was an amazing feeling to know in that moment that our reach is truly global. This feeling was only intensified just a short while ago tonight as we spoke to around 1500 teens, adults, and survivors from Canada, Sweden, South Africa, Panama, and Israel.
In between all of our presentations, including one for the Miami delegation, we found some time to see the new Jewish museum in Warsaw. Lost on the way, we were lucky enough to run into a former regional BBYO advisor of mine. He invited us to join in with his group from Los Angeles on their tour of the old Jewish neighborhood of Warsaw. 
This part of the day was the reflective part. As the memories of our first trip here flooded back, I experienced the way that my perspective has changed since the last time I was here. In 2011 I was shocked and disturbed by the atrocities of the Shoah and the shadows left by its victims. Now, three years later, I am unfortunately unsurprised at the new facts I learn, and I feel that I am processing them much more easily. I am grateful for this, yet at the same time it is hard to accept that I can accept what I'm hearing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Poland, The March, and the World

And to be clear... the purpose of this trip:
Over the last year, we have developed an outstanding relationship with March of the Living International. We are thrilled to be partnering with them in filling a major void in their program. We will serve as the official process that every marcher, this year and in the future, will go through as a first step in translating the power of their experience into action in their lives. 

Since the need for that missing piece of follow up in our own experience is largely what has motivated us over the last three years, we're giving back where it all began, taking the already-transformative experience of MOTL even further in its personal impact for people and getting MOTL started with its first-ever, much needed alumni follow-up program. 

Jeff and I will be here in Poland for the next few days to officially bring P6M to the 2014 March while Brandon covers ground support from the states. While we're here, we'll meet with as many international delegations as we can in three days, and then Jeff will speak at the Yom Hashoah ceremony in Birkenau! Yes- survivors, international dignitaries and performers... and us!!!  

He'll bring a call to action to the 13,000 people assembled there, invite them to join our movement and hand out the bracelets you see pasted below.  You can watch it live through the March of the Living website! We'll also be blogging from Poland, so check that out on the P6M website (new site launching tonight).
And, this is all because...
As P6M has taken a few turns, we're excited to be relaunching with clear, new direction which will bring tremendous impact. 

We've learned that approximately 23 million people per year experience some form of Holocaust or genocide awareness/education. We know they have that critical eye-opening moment - that shift in the way they see the world, just like we did. There is currently no process to convert those individual realizations into ongoing voice, awareness and positive action in the world or way for them to connect with one another. They have the same goals and intentions, but without any coordination or direct link to one another. Furthermore, in the days, weeks, months and years following the experience, the passion and emotion that were born in those moments are lost. 

We have created a process to solve this problem. Our objective is to provide a unique but shared post-experience process for all of those people. We make it easy for them to capture that moment with a statement, we share it out for them and connect them to other upstanders, and then we send their statement back to them in intervals - in a week, a month, six months, one year etc. In this way, we are creating one more Holocaust awareness moment than they would have had otherwise, which we believe is extremely significant in ensuring that Holocaust remembrance never dissipates.

We're extending the impact of their initial awareness and connecting them to one another in shared commitment to acting on it. We've created a bridge from that moment of intense emotion to an empowering way to communicate, take action, connect and make it multiply in their lives long after the moment. As a result, we will all be connected in advancing Holocaust awareness and improving the world.


I'm always amazed by how little of a difference it takes to create sharp, life-changing contrast. 

I travel a lot, but this trip is different than any other.
This trip's distinct because I'm here to facilitate a process of remembrance and represent a movement of active awareness that will shape futures. 

We came to Poland once before, but this time is different. 
The last time we came to Poland we were here to immerse ourselves in the darkness of the Holocaust's history here. This time we're here to bring some light to its lessons. 

People look sort of similar, but they are different. 
As we walked down the street in bustling downtown Warsaw today, blending in like the thousands of other people taking in a beautiful day, I was struck by how the invisible difference of our religion from many of them would have gotten us executed on that very street not so long ago. 

Subtle distinctions between things. Or the change we bring to things. 
This place, this mission and this project to me is so much about those differences.

The grisly difference between a giant concentration camp pumping out crematorium smoke from humans being killed too fast for burial to be efficient and the homes, schools, town full of people living a normal life, yards away.  

The difference of being shot on the spot or living on from the simple call of an SS officer to say turn right instead of left. 

The difference between the tourists sipping their coffee on the patios of the hip clubs and shops outside my hotel window and the 10,000 kids who are spending moments right now and over the next several days witnessing the scratch marks and remains of the concentration camps, eerily fresh and intact. 

The difference between having a moment of realization but letting it dissipate, or converting it into change or impact. 

The difference between having a great idea and actually creating and developing something out of it. 

The difference between intellectually understanding an issue and being struck in the heart and gut by it in a way that alters you. 

In these next few days 10,000 teens and another 3,000 adults from all over the world will be struck as in that way, transformed forever about how they understand humanity... within miles of the people who will keep sipping their coffee on the shop patios right here.  

We are here with Project6Million to bring a process to capture those moments, and turn them into connection, voice and action to make a difference for each of those people. We know that the the power of that ah-ha moment is immense, and harnessed for each yet all of us as awareness and commitment to what's possible can shape the future. 

So I'll do what I do best- keep asking the questions and bringing the process to notice those differences, turning them into commitment and action toward what's possible... in this place, in our lives, and in humanity. 

What an honor.  

Almost exactly 3 years ago I was doing almost the exact thing that I am doing now: traveling to Poland for the March of the Living. When I came the first time I had little to no idea what to expect from my journey aside from an itinerary, a group, and the knowledge and excitement that I would be in Israel just a few days later.
When I left Poland the last time I was changed. I certainly never expected to return. Yet here I am, a slightly older and hopefully more mature version of the eighteen year old that I was then, returning to a place that has weighed upon me, and all who experience it, to this day. 

This trip, however, is different. I am with  no delegation and will not have the magical experience of Israel to offset some of the associated traumas from witnessing the destruction of the Holocaust. At the end of this trip, I'll return to Boulder, Colorado to finish my semester with haste. 

Nevertheless, I am here.

 I cannot say honestly that I know what to expect from this trip, but I know that now I am here with a purpose. When the 2011 Cincinnati (Fluvinati) delegation flew home we had an idea of how to use our experience to change the world. Now I am going to the March to bring that idea, Project6Million, to 13,000 people. 

I realize now that, although I never expected to return to Poland, I need to. While I feel that no Jew, or perhaps no human being, will ever be able to fully reconcile the events of the holocaust, I believe that my coming on this trip is a step in the right direction personally and for all of those that hear the Project6Million message. 
I'll finish this up, as the plane to Warsaw will be landing momentarily. When I step off of the plane this time, I will do so with a purpose. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Welcome to the Project6Million Blog!
We'll share our journey here as we relaunch P6M, bringing it to Poland, to 10,000 youth at March of the Living next week, and the world!
We're excited to have you with us.