It amazes me how much my husband loves all aspects of travel: the research, planning the itinerary, and seeing it come to fruition. So when I suggested we go on the TBE trip to Eastern Europe, it was not a hard sell.
We typically travel alone. Being on a bus without the freedom to explore on our own was new territory. I am happy to report at no time did we feel trapped or that we were receiving a canned tour. We found it meaningful to be with the TBE community to discuss complex issues, such as the Polish people as complicit or victims of the Holocaust.
One of the best parts of traveling with a TBE group happened before we left. Cantor Sufrin connected us at a dinner, an email group, and a goodbye Shabbat service. By the time we left we were no longer strangers going to a far land, but a group of temple members interested in exploring our Jewish heritage through the lens of the Holocaust and through the long history of Europe as the center of Jewish culture.
The highlight of the trip was Jodi helping us make sense and find meaning in the horrors we were exposed to. Of the many memorable moments, a few stand out. Singing the mourner’s Kaddish by the banks of the Danube River where Jews were shot and thrown into the icy water. The service Jodi led to honor those we lost at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The joy we felt when we attended the Jewish Festival concert with 8,000 people in the Jewish section of Krakow where no Jews were expected to be again. Finally, seeing the JCC in Krakow rebuild almost a generation of Jews who perished, gave us hope.
I will remain forever changed from our TBE travel experience.
Learn more about traveling with TBE: TBEWellesley.org/Community-Engagement-Travel-with-TBE