Grateful for Our 5 Hours in Auschwitz

Once inside the death camp you begin to understand the sheer volume and scale at which these mass murders took place. The camp is expansive, beyond the horizon, with only barbed wire fences, very few buildings, and brick crumbles of what was left of the factory furnaces. Yet, somehow within the ruins, there is order to everything. The organizational system is so clear it’s maniacal. The methodic planning and vision that went into building this place is uncanny. How could humans, people we share our very DNA with, have had the foresight and brutality to construct not just a death camp, but a death camp of this size and assembly-like fashion organized to destroy these poor victims at such speeds and volume that factories put together cars. This place sickened me.

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6 Quirks I've Noticed Since Living in Germany

Well, it’s official. I’ve been living in Germany for exactly one full month. Not long enough, by any means, to feel like a local but long enough to observe some unique quirks and social norms different from my American companions. My German boyfriend explained a lot of this to me prior to moving here but my stubbornness refused to believe the extent of which these things are true. Quirkiness can be frustrating when you don’t understand where it’s coming from. In an effort to better understand the culture I’m living in and instill some empathy for why things are the way they are I did a little digging on these observations and here’s what I’ve found:

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5 Things You Should Know Before Moving Abroad

Be mindful that this process will most likely happen, probably several times. Do not over romanticize the idea of moving abroad. Do not underestimate the challenges on a logistical level or the culture shock and adjustments on an emotional level. Do your best to ride the waves – the highs and lows – and embrace it. While there is not much you can do to prepare for the uncanny valley you will undoubtedly experience when moving abroad, I think it’s helpful to be mindful of it and just enjoy the ride!

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Our *Schlep Through Rome, Italy

Now, just a brief background as it pertains to the context of this post, my father’s side is Jewish, which is how I was raised. We are very reform. In fact, so reform that we had a gay rabbi (unheard of) and a woman cantor (very rare until about 10-15 years ago) at our synagogue. I like to think we were ahead of the time. I didn’t realize then but looking back I fully appreciate how progressive and accepting our congregation was. Full transparency: while I am proud of my ancestral heritage, appreciate a lot of what Judaism teaches and respect those who practice, as an adult I have never been religious myself. I’m also not here to debate or *kvetsh about the race, ethnicity, religion or cultural prose around Judaism. Instead, I’d like to share my experiences in Rome surrounding Jewish history. Regardless of personal beliefs or creed I hope you find interest in our excursions, enjoy my *spiel, and consider checking these things out if and when you make it to Rome.

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