Group 5: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (2nd Departure)

July 4, 2012

Group 5 drove to Tikochin this morning, davened shacharit there, and headed to Lupochova Forest. While there, they listened to their excellent tour guide, Jules, explain what happened at the site, which was once filled with mass graves. The group took time to themselves to meditate and process everything they heard. Then they toured Treblinka, the extermination camp, and organized a memorial ceremony. They returned to Warsaw for dinner followed by a farewell ceremony before boarding the plane and heading to Israel! Everyone is really excited and looking forward to arriving in Israel!

July 3, 2012

The group’s final full day in Poland started with a visit to the wall remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto. Then they went to the Jewish Historical institute where they watched a twenty-five minute video of live footage filmed by people within the Warsaw Ghetto during the time of the Holocaust. Everyone was really moved by this short film. After, they went on a walking tour of Warsaw. They got to see Mila 18, which was the bunker headquarters of the Jewish resistance fighters, as well as the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw, the site of deportation of the Jews. Following a busy morning they went to a park to eat lunch, do some ice breakers, and have some free time to throw around Frisbees and relax. They headed to a mall in downtown central Warsaw to do a photography scavenger hunt by subgroups. In the evening they went to the Nozyk Synagogue to daven mincha and discussed the day in their subgroups before heading to bed.

July 2, 2012

Group 5 woke up this morning and started their drive from Krakow to Warsaw. During the busride they watched the Pianist and then they stopped in Lodz on the way. In Lodz they visited the Lodz Jewish cemetery, which is the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe with the biggest Jewish tombstone in the world. They also visited the Lodz ghetto and the Umshlagplatz, which is the site of deportation, and continued their roadtrip to Warsaw. 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.

June 29, 2012

Group 5 woke up in Lublin, once home to a thriving Jewish community, and started their day Yeshivat Chochmei Lublin. There, 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. Then they drove 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 and return to the olive oil restaurant to eat seudah shlishit and do havadalah. The group is excited to spend their first Shabbat together, singing, learning, and relaxing. Shabbat Shalom!

June 28, 2012

Group 5 landed safely in Poland this morning, met their Israeli staff and headed to the Warsaw Jewish cemetery. Then they had lunch and a long drive to Lublin where they will spend the night. After dinner they will be doing orientation and ice breakers. They are excited to get to know one another and look forward to an amazing summer!

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