Aviva In Poland

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

April Shower bring May Flowers?

Dear Friends Family and Readers

I have gotten really bad at keeping up with my blog and I think the reason is that it comes to a point where you get so caught up in the life you are living. But I still want to share as best as I am able what I am doing and what life is looking like here.

April is a very busy month for Polish Jews and this week in May marks the end of a period of memory, commemoration and reflection. Right when Pesach ends Poland becomes filled with young people here to learn as first hand as possible about the Holocaust through the March of the Living Program. It was very overwhelming for me to come to shul on the Friday that marked the beginning of the trip. Suddenly the small Friday night service that I have come to enjoy and feel so comfortable at was filled with at least 600 people for the 3 different Kabalat Services. I happen to have for the one that a large delegation from Canada was at and ran into many people who were shocked to find me living in Warsaw. Luckily the JDC March of the Living group that I was working with was not beginnig their program until Sunday morning and I had the pleasure of hosting one of my JDC bosses from NYC for a Shabbat meal. I have to share with you how nervous I was to commemorate Yom Hashoah, which began Sunday night, in Poland. I spent Sunday hosting MOL participants, that JDC gathers from many countries and continents around the world. We did a ghetto tour and saw many key monuments. To start the evening one of my seniors who I have gotten very close and who has a wonderful story, came to the Youth Club to share her story witht the teenagers. On Monday I joined 8000 on the March of the Living which is a march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. The day brought out many different feeling and I look forward to sharing them in the future. The week also brought Ghetto Uprising Memorial Day which is a very important day in Warsaw and is commemorated in many different ways.

To switch from Holocaust commemoration to happier things, my Dad and Linda came to Warsaw. After 8 months I got to see some of my family and it was so great to have them in Warsaw with me. We had such a busy week. The day they landed there was big birthday party for Tal Osnat and I and my parents were overwhelmed with all the people they met, but enjoyed seeing the people who I spend my life with. Together we went to Zakopane a mountain town outside of Krakow, Krakow and to Auschwitz(yes thats a lot of that place in a short time). We returned to Warsaw in time to celebrate Yom Ha atzmaut in the Senior Club and they got to see me speaking in Polish and hanging out with my seniors. It was a very special program and it was incredibly moving to be with 25 seniors in Warsaw while they all sung Hatikvah. I took my parents to meet friends, they were happily in attendence at my surprise party at the office and of course I made sure to include one of my favourite spots in my Warsaw tour, H&M.

I am now back at work after my parents have gone and week holidays in May-they have soo many national holidays here it is wonderful! For that week I was in Stockholm with friends and I met my Dad and Linda for the last part of their trip in Budapest. I feel like I have been running all around and cramming lots of different things in and when I looked at the calander today I realize I have just over 3months here and so much that I still want to see do and be able to share. These nexts are going to be incredibly busy seniors camp, a volunteer exchange program visit and camps! I am looking forward to sharing the last part of my journey here with all of you

Lots of love from Warsaw