Proud to Be a Jew

Posted on August 5, 2022

Ruby Livon, 17, is an incoming senior at St. Louis Park High School in Minneapolis, MN.

Ruby says TJJ Ambassadors Poland – and the wide range of emotions she experienced – was unlike anything she had expected.

“How ever I thought I was going to feel or react prior to the trip was never the reality,” she says. “It is impossible to know how you will be in any place in Poland until you are there, being.”

She adds that she was surprised that in certain places, “I felt absolutely nothing, just numb.”

“I had this idea in mind head that I was supposed to feel something, sadness or anger, so when I didn’t feel those things, I felt like I was heartless person,” she says. “I had to learn to accept that everyone reacts differently.”

There was one emotion, however, that Ruby says she felt repeatedly – and that was pride.

“The most meaningful part of my time in Poland was having the privilege to stand in the most horrific sights in Jewish history and proudly be a Jew,” she says.

She describes a particularly gloomy, rainy day in Belzec, when the teens stood in the death camp and sang Jewish songs.

“That, in itself, was so powerful and meaningful, to be in such a place and proudly sing together as Jewish community,” Sarah says.

But that wasn’t all.

“At the exact moment that we switched songs and began singing “Acheinu,” [“Our brothers,” a song about Jewish unity,] the sun came out.

“It felt like a sign from G-d,” Ruby continues. “And there has [never] been a moment in my life that I have been as proud to be a Jew as that one.”

Ruby adds that the trip has given her a greater sense of appreciation for her Jewish heritage, and that it has helped her strengthen her relationship with G-d.

“I have learned through this trip that being a Jew is a privilege,” she says. “After witnessing what I saw in Poland, it is clear to me that my being here is, in itself, a miracle.”