Group 5: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (2nd Departure)
July 1, 2013
The group left Warsaw this morning and headed to Tykochin. They davened shacharit in the Old Synagogue and learned about the Jewish community in that town. From there, they headed to Lupochova Forest, where they were joined by an Israeli Army delegation, a truly moving experience for the group. Jules Gutin explain what happened at the site, which was once filled with mass graves. The group drove to Treblinka, the extermination camp, where they held a memorial ceremony and time to reflect over these past few days. From there, they returned to Warsaw for their final dinner in Poland before boarding the plane and heading to Israel! Everyone is really excited and looking forward to arriving in Israel!
June 30, 2013
,The group began with an early morning Shacharit at their hotel before starting their drive from Krakow to Lodz. 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. The group was able to actually view the train and enter into the cattle cars. They saw the memorial for all the Jews killed in that town and were joined by a group of Israeli youth who were also on a tour of Poland, a very special experience for the group. They then continued to Warsaw and in the evening, met in subgroups followed by a fun, light evening program
June 28, 2013
Today the group began the day with shacharit at the Auschwitz Jewish Centre and then visited Auschwitz concentration camp. 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. They visited a new exhibit about the holocaust which just opened last month. 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. Then, they 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 27, 2013
This morning, the group began their day with shacharit in Kraznik followed by a long bus ride to Krakow. In Krakow, they toured the Jewish Quarter and visited two synagogues, namely the Temple Synagogue and Rema. The Rema Shul is named after Moshe Isserles who wrote the Mapa, the Ashkenazic gloss to the Shulchan Aruch. This evening, the group will split up into their subgroups followed by a fun evening program.
June 26, 2013
Group 5 woke up in Lublin, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community, and started their day at 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 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 they met in subgroups and these small groups will meet each night in Poland in order to debrief about the day together.
June 25, 2013
Group 5 landed safely in Poland this morning, met their Israeli staff and headed to the Genscher cemetery. They then visited the Warsaw Ghetto Walls and continued to the Walk of Heroes, which begins at the Rapaport Monument and highlights sites such as Mila 18, the headquarters bunker of the of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising . From there, the group visited the Umschlagplatz, which was the collection point in the Warsaw Ghetto for Jews to be deported. From there they began their 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 the amazing summer ahead!