Friends of the March of the Living

Posted on 08/11/2023 @ 06:00 AM

Tags: March of the Living

Photo: Mel Mann, Executive Director and Howard Schneider, President of the Friends of the MOTL, at Hero's Square in Krakow, Poland.

Today's Summer Spotlight shines on Friends of the March of the Living.
We would like to introduce you to the Friends of the March of the Living organization and their relationship with CAJE’s Leo Martin March of the Living program.
The mission of the Friends of the March of the Living (the Friends) is to ensure the perpetuation of the March of the Living Program (the March) through the establishment and maintenance of an endowment fund.

The March is a profound and transformative program that allows participants to bear witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust and the beauty of Israel, while celebrating Jewish identity and resilience.
Among the many dedicated individuals who have contributed to the success and sustainability of this program, one figure stands out as a true visionary - Leo Martin z”l, a Holocaust Survivor from Lodz, Poland.
Leo Martin’s journey with the March of the Living began as a survivor, when he participated in the program in 2000. Moved by the experience, he returned in 2002, 2004, and 2005.
Leo Martin firmly believed in the program’s power to preserve Jewish identity and culture, and he was determined to secure its future for Miami-Dade students. To achieve this, he spearheaded the establishment of the Friends of the March of the Living, Inc., a not-for-profit Florida Corporation.
The primary goal of the Friends of the March of the Living was to create a substantial foundation, dedicated to sustaining the March of the Living for future generations.
The funding for this ambitious endeavor would come from grants, bequests, fundraising events, and individual contributions. Leading by example, Leo Martin generously contributed nearly $1,000,000 to the Foundation, setting the path for others to follow.
Today, individuals continue to contribute to the Friends of the March of the Living and each December, the Friends hold an annual Golf Tournament that helps to raise funds for the Foundation.

SUNDAY – DEC. 10, 2023

So, how do the Friends support CAJE and Miami’s Leo Martin March of the Living?
Since inception, the Friend’s has provided in excess of $2,000.00 of support to the Leo Martin March of the Living program.
In 2014, Mel Mann was installed as the Executive Director of the Friends, bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to further the organization’s goals. Prior to being Executive Director, Mel participated in 10 teen Marches as Bus Captain and as a Second Gen. He has also organized and co-led 14 Adult Marches, which also raise money for the teens to attend the March.
Mel emphasized that the support from the Friends is “to ensure that students can attend the program regardless of their financial abilities.”

In addition to supporting teens on the March program, The Friends also run the adult March of the Living trip. Miami adults interested in traveling on the March of the Living program have the opportunity to do so with the Friends.
Adults who may be interested in the 2024 program (taking place May 1-14, 2024), can learn more about the itinerary and registration process HERE.

Why is it important for the Friends to support the March program?
The endowment fund supports the March of the Living’s goals of educating Jewish teenagers about the dangers of antisemitism, hatred and intolerance.
The mission of Miami’s Leo Martin March of the Living is to educate the next generation of leaders to strengthen their Jewish identity, remember the Holocaust, act as witnesses, be upstanders for Israel, and respond to intolerance and antisemitism, ensuring a strong Jewish future in America, Israel, and around the world.
CAJE’s mission aligns with Friends and Mel’s own personal charge of continuing to share the stories of Holocaust Survivors for generations to come. Mel, a child of Survivors, explained that his involvement is the kaddish he recites for his family.
Twenty-seven of his family members were murdered in the Shoah and the only request Mel’s parents had for him is to ensure that future generations know about our Jewish past.
This is a common trope for many Survivors and supporters of the March who want to instill within young people the necessity to ‘Never Forget.’

What is the vision for the Friends?
As the Friends of the March of the Living continue their journey, they remain steadfast in their mission and passion to raise the necessary funds required to perpetuate Leo Martin’s vision of preserving the March of the Living.
Through the support of the community, the program’s impact can endure for generations to come, ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust never fade and that hope and resilience will always prevail.
By providing financial contributions to the March of the Living, Mel along with president Howard Schneider and the leadership and supporters of the Friends ensure the perpetuation of the March of the Living program for future generations.

To contribute to the Friends of the March of the Living or participate in the 2024 Adult March visit:

Applications for the 2024 Teen March of the Living
will open in just a few weeks.
Click Here to find out more.