June 22, 2012
The group began the day with Shaharit at the Oschwentzen (The community in which Auschwitz exists) shul. They then visited Auschwitz concentration camp, where they began their tour by walking under the infamous sign, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” “Work Will Make You Free.” They went into several buildings and learned about what went on in the everyday lives of the camp’s victims. Then they went to Birkenau death camp, where they had the opportunity to walk through the famous guard tower. They continued through the barracks, stood at the very place where Dr. Mengele chose who should live and who should die, and saw the former crematoria that were destroyed at the end of the war. At the end of the tour, the group gathered for a memorial ceremony.
Group 4 drove back to Krakow where they will spend their first Shabbat together. They will daven at the Isaac Shul as well as eat several of their meals at the Olive Oil restaurant. During Shabbat they will participate in a limud before completing the remainder of Shabbat with Seudah Shlishit and Havadalah. The group is excited to spend their first Shabbat together, singing, learning, and relaxing. Shabbat Shalom!
June 21, 2012
This morning group 4 visited the synagogue in Kraznik followed by a long bus ride to Krakow. In Krakow, they toured two old synagogues in the old city: the Temple synagogue and Rema. The Rema shul is named for Moshe Isserles who wrote the Mapa, the Ashkenazic gloss to the Shulchan Aruch. Group 4 enjoyed a wonderful dinner in a beautiful restaurant followed by subgroups, to debrief on the day.
June 20, 2012
Group 4 woke up in Lublin, once home to a thriving Jewish community, and started their day Yeshivat Chochmei Lublin. The staff members led a limud and the group studied rabbinic texts, much like students of the Yeshiva did in the early twentieth century. It is in this yeshiva where the great Rabbi Shapira invented the system of learning a page of Talmud a day, Daf Yomi, a system still in use today. The group then headed to Majdanek Concentration Camp. One of the most interesting and shocking parts of the camp is that much of the camp is still intact, giving the group a full image of what it looked like when it was operational. The group spent time reflecting and participating in a memorial ceremony. After eating lunch they headed to the town of Wlodawa and davened mincha at the great synagogue, which unfortunately is not in use today because no Jews live in the town. Then they headed to Sobibor, a Concentration and Death Camp, at which a successful revolt occurred in 1943; close to 600 prisoners escaped. The group participated in a memorial ceremony there as well. In the evening the group ate dinner and met in subgroups; these small groups will meet each night in Poland in order to debrief about the day together. In addition, the group did icebreakers in order to learn even more about one another. They are all looking forward to tomorrow!
June 19, 2012
Group 4 safely landed in Warsaw this afternoon. They met their Israeli staff members and their tour guide, Jules Gutin! Once they loaded the bus they headed for the Genscher Cemetery, followed by lunch. They visited an area that used to be a Jewish ghetto and saw its last remaining wall, as well as the Umschlagplatz, which was the collection point in the Warsaw Ghetto for Jews to be deported. Group 4 then headed to Lublin where they will spend their first night. They are all excited and ready for the summer ahead!
Bullying Ends With Us
Join USY and Jewish teens across North America who are fighting to eliminate bullying. Please watch this video, produced by the The Coalition of Jewish Teens, the umbrella organization of North American youth movements, and sign the petition. Most important: share this video with your friends and family. This generation will be the last to allow bullying within its schools, neighborhoods and community. Together we can make a difference!
USY Summer Programs Ready for the Road
USY Summer Programs are preparing for their departures across North American and around the world during Summer 2012. The experiences are once-in-a-lifetime and there is something for everyone as part of a USY Summer program. Go to www.usy.org/escape to learn more.
Ki Tissa 5772
Ki Tissa 5772
Written by Tova Kline (Zohar USY, SWUSY Region)