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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Heritage Trip to Poland 2018/5778: Days 2, 3 & 4

We ended our second day at Lejansk, one of the great centers of Chassidut in Poland. We prayed together at the kever of Rav Elimelech of Lejansk and then had a Chassidic-style tish (herring included!). From there we went to pay tribute to the children who perished in the Holocaust. In our tribute we learned an important lesson about appreciation and family.
On the third day, we spent the morning touring the old Jewish quarter of Krakow, telling stories about some of the famous personalities and places of Kazimierz. We spent time understanding the structure and events of the Krakow ghetto (including the factory of Oskar Schindler). In the afternoon we had a moving visit to Auschwitz I where we were able to see some of the possessions taken from the victims of the camp. The very tangible, visual evidence of the crimes of war, made for an impactful visit.
We spent our last day in Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps. The sheer magnitude of the camp was powerful and menacing. We paid tribute to the victims of the camp as we toured on the path of those who were sent to the gas chambers, and then those who were sentenced to work. We ended our trip by singing Hatikva outside one of the barracks of the camp, and headed to the airport to fly back to NY to reunite with our families.