Midreshet Lindenbaum
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Poland Trip 2018 - Monday

Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Poland Trip is already off to a meaningful start. We woke up at 5:30 AM, bundled up in our warm clothes, and trekked to The Riker Synagogue for Shacharit. Following davening, we visited Radegast, the location where Jews from the Łódź Ghetto were ultimately deported. There Rav Brown spoke about life in Łódź, the Łódź Ghetto and the controversial decisions of Chaim Rumkowski, among other things. Our next stop was the massive Jewish cemetery of Łódź, filled with thousands of graves, some—unfortunately— extremely unkempt, and others intricately detailed and maintained. We stopped at the grave of Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Meisel— the beloved rabbi of the Łódź community for 35 years— and listened to stories of his impactful leadership. We also saw the extravagant mausoleum of Izrael Poznanski and learned of his lavish life and contributions to the Jewish community of Łódź. Our cemetery visit concluded with a stop at the graves of four members of Bnei Akiva who were murdered in cold blood after the war. To honor their memories, we sang a moving יד אחים, a famous Bnei Akiva song, accompanied by Ruth Slonimsky on her clarinet. Next, we drove to Chelmno, the notorious death camp where thousands of Jews were exterminated. There we sat and learned about how Jews were herded onto 2 trucks pumped with carbon monoxide and driven into the forest where their dead bodies were buried. We walked through the memorial with Israeli flags wrapped proudly around our shoulders. To learn more about the history of Jews in Poland and their persecution in the Holocaust, we went to the Polish Jewish History Museum (unsure whether or not this is the name) and visited its interactive exhibit, filled with details of life before, during and after the war. Finally, to conclude the day, we walked to the “Umschlagplatz,” the square where Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto were deported, and along Heroism street where we heard about a few of the famous heroes of the Ghetto. It was a long day, but a powerful start to our week. 

 Eva Ingber