And those among you shall build the destroyed Worlds
And You Shall Establish the Foundations of Generations Past
And You Shall be Called the Repairer of the Breach
The One Who Restores Paths in Which to Dwell
— Isaiah 58:12
Project Preservation is Hillel at Dartmouth premiere experiential learning program. For 16 years, students from both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, gather in the spring term to engage in tikkun olam (to repair a broken part of the world). There’s a 10 week study of genocide, with a particular emphasis on the Shoah. Right after graduation, the group travels to Auschwitz to reflect on the destruction of the Jewish people and all who perished there and at the same time ponder with sadness and grief the darkness and void of humanity in this space and time.
After Auschwitz, the group travels to the selected site to restore an abandoned and neglected Jewish Cemetery by righting headstones, performing general clean up, and erecting a wrought iron fence, each panel bearing the Magen David, so that it shall never be forgotten that this is sacred ground.
The group attempts to recover as much of the history of the Jewish people in this area as is possible and make connections with a variety of groups in the area.