We boarded the bus

On July 29th, 16 teens boarded a bus

All of them were strangers who had been put together to fulfill a common goal and learn from each other.  They all had their excitement along with their doubts.  The same question was going though all of their minds “Can I ever form a bond as strong as OU 09′ with these people that sit before me?”

Days passed and through experiencing things outside their normal routine, these teens began to open up to each other.

On July 4th 16 teens walked into a museum

All of them less ignorant of who each member was.

They all were full of anticipation along with curiosity.

The same question ran through all of their minds “Can I make it through this Holocaust Museum without breaking down in front of people who had never seen me cry?”

This question was answered quickly as these teens walked past the walls covered in pictures of genocide

One began to cry.

Soon another joined in..and then another..and then another. Soon all of the Jewish teens along with a group leader were in tears.

One would think that these individuals who knew each other just under a week would not have a shoulder to lean on yet, but that wasn’t the case.

Each individual shedding tears was soon engulfed by hugs of compassion by every member of the group.

Even the members of the group who were not Jewish felt the pain of their group members who were and took it into their hands to comfort them.

In that moment the group was no longer strangers, but family.

In that moment of weakness, the OU group of 2010 came together in ways beyond anything they could ever image.

On July 21st 16 teens will walk into a church to be welcomed back by their families

All of them happy to be home but sad to be leaving the family they had created through their 3 weeks of travel

They will all be filled with new knowledge of equality along with a love for their group members that will last a life time.

The same question with be running through all of their minds “Now that this trip is over, how can I change the world?”

In time that question will be answered as we all make our mark on the world through the help of Operation Understanding.

I am proud to be a member of the OU class of 2010. We are a group of unique, amazing people who truly want to make a difference through all the experiences we have on this trip. In the past week we have gone from strangers to friends and I hope that in the next 2 weeks of this trip that our bond becomes stronger.

A quick shout out to my family back home. I love you guys and miss you!

-Brooke Singer, Central High School, OU 2010

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