What an incredible shabbat in Berlin! Although the weather has been very hot and it seems that air conditioning is not a priority in Germany, it still has been great! I enjoyed services at the Rykestrasse Syangogue on Friday. The style of the service is not what I am used to, but it was very German: robes, traditional cantorial chanting, and the seperation of men and women, Shabbat dinner was really enjoyable and everyone's spirits were high. On Shabbat morning I went to visit the Wannsee House.
Today was another great day! I was especially moved by the Rosenstrasse Protest Memorial. It remembers the women's uprising against the Nazi's when their Jewish husband's were taken away just because they were Jewish. Women stayed in the park for 8 days, and finally the Nazi's sent a special transport to bring their Jewish husband's back to Berlin. (The women were not Jewish). Although the men were eventually arrested and taken away again, they were not sent to death camps and all did survive.
The first two days of the academy have been great! It has been so wonderful reconnect with friends from last summer and to make new friends this summer! I especially loved going back to the New (Neu) Synagogue on day 1 of the academy. For me, this place means a lot because it is the first reform/liberal synagogue in Germany, and the first female rabbi (ever!) worked there, even though she only played a small role. Today, day 2 of the academy, we saw the last remaining piece of the Berlin Wall that has no graffiti.
Today is July 16th, and I will be in Berlin in one week. I am looking forward to another fantastic learning experience with the Centropa team! Last summer I was hesitant to travel to Germany, and this summer I can not wait. I am looking forward to getting to know Berlin better, as well as reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I am also excited about having been asked to lead the Kindertransport elective.