Welcome Message
We are excited to welcome you on March of the Living 2020. Each spring BBYO sends a National Delegation to the March of the Living to join thousands of other participants from over 60 countries. We are very proud to be the only national youth group to consistently participate in the March of the Living since its inception in 1988. Thank you for being a part of this meaningful tradition and life experience.

The goal of the March of the Living is to educate Jewish teens beyond the textbook, to explore the richness of our past, and to perpetuate our Jewish future. Studies have determined that past participants are more likely to return to Israel, seek Jewish life on college campuses, be active in human rights causes, continue their Jewish studies, and marry within the Jewish faith. In other words, participating in the March of the Living can be a highly powerful and transformative experience. Of course, we have a lot of fun too; the March is also a celebration of life. Thank you again for being a part of our Delegation, and please take the time to read all of the important details in this manual designed to help prepare you for your journey ahead.

Program Checklist

We hope you will take the time to review this document in its entirety.

Please ensure that you have:

  • Arranged travel to/from the departure airport or the pre-approved meeting point and submitted your travel plans to us.
  • Added a supervised hotel stay-over for the outbound and/or inbound flights if necessary by contacting the office via email to make the request.
  • Uploaded a passport copy in your registration account and ensured that it is valid for at least six months after our return date.
  • Signed up friends and family to receive updates during your trip (parents will automatically receive the updates).
  • Added a travel insurance policy (optional).
  • Arranged for a local SIM or phone (optional) rental.
  • Joined the program Whatsapp group for either teens or parents. (Only teen participants will be accepted into the teen group.)
  • “Liked” BBYO Passport on Facebook – this is where we’ll post photo albums over the summer.
  • Reviewed the Program Rules & Expectations together as a family.
  • Reviewed the packing advice in this document.
  • Reviewed BBYO Passport's commitment to:
  • Made a plan for accessing spending money during the program.
  • Submitted all forms in your registration account.

Group Essentials

GROUP COMPOSITION
We are expecting to welcome approximately 200 teens, as well as an adult delegation from across North America. We will be forming four separate traveling groups in Poland and Israel. Each group will have its own staff team of Jewish professionals and leaders. Our bus groups generally travel together, have meals together, and stay in the same hotels. The only separate group time is during debriefings and other small group activities and tours.

By joining a BBYO Passport experience, you are making a commitment to fully participate in a group travel program with a demanding schedule. In order to ensure the success of the experience for everyone, we expect you to stay on schedule and contribute to the positive group dynamics of our community. Although the program is intensive and free time will be limited, there will be plenty of room for personal exploration, shopping, and relaxation. Israeli family and friends are welcome to visit you during Shabbat in Israel provided that the visit is cleared in advance of the trip directly with the Director, Meir Tannenbaum.

STAFF COMPOSITION
Two BBYO staff members will accompany each bus from North America and will be met by one Israeli guide and a dedicated security escort. In Poland, a local guide will join us as well. We are very privileged to be accompanied by a survivor, Paul Galan, who will be traveling with us and enriching the experience with his stories and perspective. Along with our professional staff team, we will be traveling with a registered nurse and a wellness specialist. Finally, Meir Tannenbaum, the Director of BBYO’s March of the Living, oversees the program as a whole.

Security Policies
Security escorts are government-licensed in both Poland and Israel. All of the destinations on our itineraries are checked thoroughly before each arrival for appropriateness. Buses are privately chartered and locked when not in use. Finally, the March of the Living is a fully supervised program.

PROGRAM ITINERARY
The projected itinerary is announced 3-4 weeks prior to departure. Please note that even the confirmed itinerary will be subject to change on the ground. We will do our best to notify parents and participants in advance if necessary.

KASHRUT & DIETARY NEEDS
All meals provided by the program, including those aboard the flights, are kosher. Participants with special dietary situations should make sure their medical dietary restrictions are reflected in their account information.

SHABBAT PROGRAMMING
Shabbat is a special time and can be an amazing opportunity for rest and reflection.  Friday nights and Saturdays will include prayer, informal discussions, and various Shabbat programming. Where possible, we try to include visits to local synagogues to give participants a taste of how Judaism is observed locally. Often times our best or only option is a traditional Orthodox service. Even if this is not part of your tradition, it is an opportunity for a rich cultural experience and can be meaningful, too.

We strive to provide a number of alternative options for celebrating Shabbat, and participants are encouraged to take a leadership role in how the experience is shared with the group.

As a program, we do not drive on Shabbat and we do not oblige or encourage participants to break the rules of Shabbat, which they observe. At the same time, what participants do during their non-programmed time on Shabbat is their own personal decision. We only ask that everyone be mindful and considerate of each other’s practices.