Illini Chabad ASB Berlin 2014 -
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We woke up, had breakfast and got on the bus again, joined by our Berlin tour guide.  We headed to the Bayerische plaz and toured a memorial site, the site displayed signs of the laws that were passed to oppress the Jews in the years leading up to the Holocaust. The last sign of the memorial read “Auswanderungsverbot fur Juden” ; meaning no Jew is allowed to leave Germany. It was angering and emotional to read this sign. It is difficult to fathom that there was a time not so long ago when laws like these were able to pass.

Next the bus took us to the emotional monument at platform 17; the train station that was a major site for the deportation of Jews to extermination camps.  As a group, we walked the tracks and read the plaques there that documented the details of each deportation. Each student observed their own moment of silence in honor of the Jews who were deported from this station.  After this solemn but meaningful visit, we headed to the site of the final solution. This was a decision made by various members of the Nazi party to come up with their final plan to annihilate the Jews. This site was another source of frustration for me. Once again, it was hard to conceptualize how something like this could have ever happened.

We returned to the hotel and had a few hours to prepare for Shabbas.  Before sundown, everyone headed to Chabad dressed and ready to celebrate Shabbas. We attended a joyous service filled with singing and clapping. Which was followed by a three course dinner and wonderful all night celebration. L’ chaim!

Ending the day with the celebration of Shabbas was amazing. It was a reminder of the happiness and togetherness we can feel as Jews, despite our dark history. Although we had a heavy day, on Friday night at Chabad; we were all able to come together, observe Shabbas, enjoy each other’s company and feel lucky we are Jewish!  It is at this Shabbas  that I felt the true meaning of am yisroel chai!

-          Samantha


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