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Accepted to speak in Rwanda- a great honor!

I must say that although I won't be traveling to Rwanda this time for the upcoming June conference (will be doing it remotely), I was more than pleased and honored to be selected to make a presentation based on the abstract of my doctoral research on "Reflections of children of Holocaust survivors in their second half of life."

I received the following email from the Scientific Committee which definitely put a smile on my face and a feeling of pride as well:

"...Congratulations on being selected as a presenter for the 6th World Congress on Resilience. We wanted to express our sincere gratitude for your application to present at the 6th World Congress on Resilience, 2024. We received numerous outstanding submissions, making the selection process a challenging one. However, after careful review, I am thrilled to inform you that your abstract titled "Reflections of Children of Holocaust Survivors in their Second Half of Life on their Life Experience" has been selected for presentation at our upcoming conference. Congratulations!

Your contribution promises to enrich the congress program and stimulate meaningful discussions on resilience with our participants. We truly believe that your insights will be invaluable to our audience."

Now, if I were an academic researcher by profession, perhaps a lecturer or professor at an academic institute, such an email would probably not do too much for me. This has not been my path in life, and coming up to 65 years of age I don't believe that this will ever be my path (not in this life at least...).

So the excitement of being invited to share my knowledge and experience with researchers in Rwanda, as well as those from around the world is defintely exciting and meaningful for me!

My relationship with Rwanda, if I can put it this way, began in late 2021 when I began to read about the genocide of 1994 towards my trip there in 2022. To read about what caused and what transpired in 100 days of horrific murder and genocide- one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus- boggles the mind and soul. During my trip I was deeply moved by studying these events and interviewing survivors, family members and mental health personnel on my trip to Rwanda in 2022. I feel a special bond to these people, as a second generation to the Holocaust, as a Jew and as an Israeli.

I remember those days on my trip in Rwanda where nothing else interested me other than to sit and listen to survivors and their offspring. What I found that moved me even more was that they "looked to me" to offer some insight, experience, advice. They see the Jews and Israel as having been able to document stories, witness accounts, keeping memory and legacy alive. I showed my 10 minute film of my father's testimony at the mass grave in Zhetl (Dzyatlava) in Belarus and I could sense how it touched these Rwandan friends of mine. I also assisted some survivors with tips on how to recount their stories for their children.

We are culturally, historically and physically very far apart, and yet there is a deep bond I feel with Rwanda. We, who were born to survivors of the Holocaust can offer our experience, knowledge, stories of suffering and of resilience to them...and they can also offer us what it is to have gone back to living in a society in which integrates families of victims and perpetrators in the same villages, towns and cities! Rwanda has undergone amazing change, and it is still in process. I see a natural bond to working together, learning from each other and challenging each other on how to keep legacy as well as welcoming in a better world.

It is a big agenda, some will say naiive. But I think we have no choice but to move forward while never forgetting the past. And in doing so we can help support each other- both in grief and in resilience- to grow through trauma and choose life.

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