Journey of Remembrance and Discovery: My BBYO Passport Central Europe Experience

July 23, 2023
Emma Gornstein

Ardsley, New York, USA

Class of 2025

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As I stepped onto the plane with my fellow BBYO members, I knew that the next few weeks would be a transformative adventure. Little did I know that my BBYO Passport Central Europe trip would be a profound journey of remembrance and discovery, leaving an indelible mark on my heart and soul.

Our first stop was Auschwitz, a place of somber significance in world history. As I walked through the camp, listening to our guide recount the atrocities that occurred there, I felt an overwhelming mix of emotions. The experience was a stark reminder of the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust and ensuring that such horrors are never repeated.

In contrast, my time in Warsaw was a celebration of culture and resilience. We savored the traditional Polish delicacy, pierogies, while exploring the vibrant streets. Visiting the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument, I was struck by the courage and determination of those who fought against oppression. Their bravery inspired me to stand up for justice and stand against any form of discrimination.

Vienna welcomed us with its majestic beauty and rich history. Riding the iconic Ferris wheel in the Prater amusement park gave me a new perspective on the city. The thrill of the ride mirrored the excitement of delving deeper into European history and culture.

The synagogues in Krakow resonated with a sense of heritage and continuity. As we learned about the vibrant Jewish life that once thrived in this city, I felt a connection to my own Jewish identity. Exploring the streets of Kazimierz, the historic Jewish Quarter, filled me with a sense of belonging to a rich tapestry of traditions.

My time in Prague was like walking through a fairy tale. The ancient architecture, cobblestone streets, and vibrant atmosphere enchanted me. As I stood at the Charles Bridge, I reflected on the resilience of this city, which has endured centuries of change while preserving its charm.

The highlight of our journey was Berlin, where I delved into the complex history of World War II and the Berlin Wall. Standing before the remnants of the Wall, I felt the weight of history and the power of reconciliation. This experience inspired me to be an agent of change, breaking down barriers and promoting unity.

My BBYO Passport Central Europe trip was not merely a sightseeing tour: it was a profound educational journey. It taught me the importance of remembering our past and learning from history to build a better future. The trip sparked a passion for social justice and ignited a desire to make a positive impact on the world.

As I returned home, I carried with me a new appreciation for my heritage, a deep sense of responsibility to preserve history, and a commitment to stand up for justice. My BBYO Passport Central Europe experience will forever be etched in my heart as a life-changing adventure of remembrance and self-discovery.

Emma is a BBG living in Ardsley NY she loves baking!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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