We began our early morning with davening at the Synagogue Dabrowa Tarnowska. It was a shul which was originally destroyed, but in the recent years it was restored beautifully by the Poles.
We then went to Zbilitovska Gura, a mass grave, where we honored the lives of the children lost in the Holocaust. We walked down together, holding hands, singing Hamalach H’Goel, and were reminded of just last week when we sang it under the tallit as we finished V’zot Habracha, with hundreds of children. Now we sang it as the next generation going into graves of our past. In Zbilitovska Gura, 800 children were brutally murdered from the orphanage in Tarnow, the town over, in addition to over 7,000 others. We spread out and had time alone to reflect, write and read. Each of us read a story of a child and said Yizkor. We then gathered together to do the tekes— ceremony — to honor those children. We read poems of children who were killed at 13. Their poems speak of life, of the future, the future they never got. There were many poems of fear, questioning G-d, death, but also some of hope and light. There were diaries written about pain, begging, and refusal. We ended singing together, holding each other. 33 of us, the children of the next generation, singing together as we remember those who could not.
We continued our journey to the town of Krakow where we will be for Shabbos. We went to the town square which has 8 shuls within a walking distance of 5 minutes. In addition, we went to the shul of the Ramah, one of true Gedolim. We then went to the cemetary right behind the shul and visited the graves of the Ramah, the Tosafot Yom Tov, and the Bach— all prominent Jewish leaders whom many of us learn from today. We ended the day with another tekes about tefillah and the impact it had on many Jews during the shoah. We are so fortunate this trip to daven in so many shuls throughout Poland and to allow tefillah to carry us through. We ended our tekes singing together before shabbat. We are excited for an inspiring shabbat filled with singing and touring of a large Jewish city with so much to learn from, after an impactful and meaningful week.