Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue (BES) Community Rabbi, Rabbi Alex Chapper and his wife Eva, together with Rabbi Garson of JRoots, recently led a group of 40 members on an emotional trip to Poland to honour the memory of Holocaust victims and be inspired for the future.
In just 36 hours, from 21-22 January, the BES community members experienced a jam-packed itinerary, visiting key sites of loss, but also triumph for our European ancestors.
These included Dąbrowa Tarnowska, a town which once had a thriving Jewish presence dating back to the 16th Century. There the group visited the stunningly restored main Synagogue, where they were fortunate to meet students of Yavneh College and share a special moment, dancing, singing and praying together, as the BES journey began and the Yavneh students’ journey came to an end.
The group also visited Tarnów Town Square – where Jews had been rounded up ready for deportation – and stood in the ruins of what was left of a once beautiful shul, as well as Zbylitowska Góra forest, a site of mass murder of the Jews from Tarnów, Schindler’s factory, Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II Birkenau and finally, the Tempel Synagogue in Kazimierz district of Krakow.
Commenting on this emotional journey, Rabbi Chapper said: “Eva and I were privileged to accompany 40 BES members on a truly memorable trip to Poland. Led and inspired by Rabbi Raphy Garson of JRoots, in just 36 hours this deeply moving journey was packed full of tremendous lows but also amazing highs.”
A second community trip to Poland in May this year is already in the advanced planning stages and will include visits to Warsaw and Lodz.