Asaf's Trip to Poland
There is a common practice in Israel to take a 12th grade trip to Poland. In the religious circles, the trip is bi-polar. One the one hand, you go to all the major concentration and death camps, seeing the worst of the German's atrocities. On the other hand, you go to shtetels and towns to see how we lived before the war. Its a very intense trip. I went with my oldest' class two year ago and I will never forget the images, the pain and the people who were with me on that trip.
This year, my son Asaf went on the Poland trip. As you probably know, Asaf is suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease and is in the process of finding a donor for a transplant. We got special permission for his trip from the doctors, the school and the health management organization (HMO). The problem is not that he is too unhealthy to go, but that first, he might suddenly get worse because of the stress and secondly, because Poland is one of the places that people go to purchase "grey market" kidneys.
The school tries very hard to isolate the students during the trip. They are immersed in Polish life and death. The good news is that we haven't heard anything from the school. As my mother says: "No News is Good News". This means that Asaf is healthy and somehow handling the stress.
I'm very proud of Asaf. He is an introvert and it has always been hard for him to handle confrontation. It seems to me that in his world, confrontation is equivalent to new people and places. The fact that he is working his way through this trip is a powerful sign that he has matured.