Reconnecting Ties

A study visit of US educators from Milwaukee

November 2015

US teachers from Milwaukee, Michigan who participated in the Fall 2015 Forum-organized study tour to Poland, attended a meeting with students from School Complex in Krzepice who had enrolled in the School of Dialogue program. The meeting began with an ice-breaking workshop, in the course of which the group talked about the students’ final project for the program, as well as their interests and future plans. After making acquaintances with their guests, School of Dialogue graduates took on the role of tour guides and led them through sites relating to Krzepice’s former Jewish community.

In the course of the tour that young guides had prepared during School of Dialogue program, guests were shown, among others, the site of the former synagogue, ruins of a synagogue at Liswarta river, a plaque commemorating Holocaust victims and a historical Jewish cemetery, where one of the female students sang “Avinu Malkeinu” prayer.

To learn more about impressions from Poland, read the following statement written about that day by Sara Minash, one of the participants of the visit to Krzepice:

Sara Minash:

“From Warsaw, on a gray morning we did our way to a little town Krzepice, in which we were told that the student there, with the guidance of the Forum’s educators were studied about the Jewish life in their town till the world war.
Entering the school, tears ran down unexpectedly, probably the normalcy there, on an everyday school day without my cousins that will forever stay young in my mind, took me over.

It didn’t take long and we found ourself following that group of young people in the footsteps of the Jews life in Krzepice. Their detailed knowledge and the  personal seriousness  touched my heart and the tears were of warmth and hope for a better world.

Little I knew till we arrived in front of the ruins of Krzepice’s synagogue where one of the young girl sang for us in perfect Hebrew, the Yom Kipur’s prayer, Avinu Malkaynu. Avinu Malkaynu we shined before you etc. there wasn’t one dry eye there. How much you have to study to do such choices and what an impact it will have on all of us and me.

On the way to the Jewish cemetery we, the group from Milwaukee picked stones… For no good reason. When we reached the cemetery we were given the stones they prepared for us. I thanked them and the work of the forum, in my name, in the name of my family that survived, the ones that didn’t survived and in the name of the silent people that are buried there and their families that probably didn’t survived. Hoping that after what they studied and did, they will never be indifferent to the suffering of any others.

My father grew up and lived in Kraków, there he belonged to a youth movement Gordonia. The leader of this movement, A. D. Gordon, once said: “The light will not reach a triumph over the darkness as long as we won’t realize the simple truth, instead of fighting the darkness we have to increase and strengthen the light.”

I see in the work of the Forum for Dialogue and its branches that work of increasing the light of knowledge, the only light that can make a change. The Forum brought a beam of light to the darkness I started this journey with. THANKS!”