Among activities planned in the course of Forum for Dialogue-organized study tour to Poland for Jewish community leaders from the United States in December 2012 was a meeting with School of Dialogue participants. On December 6, study tour participants visited graduates of the School of Dialogue program from School Complex no.1 in Wadowice. The meeting was not only an opportunity for guests to see a School of Dialogue program in practice, but also a chance for local students to meet many interesting people participating in the study tour.
The meeting began with St.Nicholas Day sweet souvenirs, which surprised the guests, who learned about this December 6 tradition from the students. After introductory workshops, the group was joined by guests from the local authorities – a deputy district head and a representative from the district Superintendent of Schools Office. While listening to their presentations, guests were served the famous Wadowice cream cake.
After the workshops, students took their guests on a walking tour of Jewish Wadowice. The group also visited the Jewish cemetery, where they met pro-bono caretakers of the site – volunteers conducting the necessary maintenance of the cemetery. This meeting had a great impact on study tour participants. Thanks to a kantor who was among the US study tour group, the cemetery visit ended with a kaddish prayer.
At the end of the study tour, its participants deemed the trip to Wadowice one of the highlights of their stay in Poland. To quote one of the guests: “This is what it’s all about. This was engagement. This was dialogue. This was exchange. This was at the very least, but I suspect much more, the beginning of understanding.”