Kidum - The Society for Advancement of Education
logo gidonim 300e
Reut School

Czestochowa Blog

Czestochowa Poland in July 2014

This year teachers and students from some of the local high schools, the Slovotzky School, and the Arts School of Czestochowa, helped us. This offered a rare opportunity for Israeli and Polish students to work and talk together. Local Polish historians who focus on Jewish Polish history also worked with us. They use our information to document the history of the community. A young local university student (whose grandmother was Jewish) who taught himself Hebrew joined us as well. Reut students had the opportunity to hear and experience how Poles reflect on the Holocaust and the current renaissance of Jewish activity in Poland.

The group worked for at least eight hours every day and on one evening went, together with the Polish students, on a walking tour of the city. We visited the Jasna Gora and learned about the special place Czestochowa holds in Christian belief. We learnt about the process that modern post-communist Poland is undergoing to create a new Polish identity. In addition, the group learnt how Jewish history in Poland is a part of that process. Polish newspapers also interviewed the group.

Read more ...

Rachell Kakoun's Poland Experience

My name is Rachell Kakoun and I am eighteen years old. This past summer I went to Poland with fifteen teachers and other recent graduates of The Reut School: A Pluralist Community in Jerusalem on the Gidonim delegation. This trip was different from the trip we took to Poland the previous summer, our goal was to repair and document the Jewish cemetery of Czestochowa. I did not know what to expect. Previous participants had told me that there would be a lot of hard physical work and that the cemetery looks like a dark entangled forest, where you cannot see anything resembling a cemetery just forest and greenery. Only when we reached Czestochowa and the cemetery did I really understand what the graduates from previous missions were talking about.

We worked for hours on end just to remove the vegetation that had grown over the graves to be able start to work. When the area that we would be working in was cleared of rubble and over growth and the teachers had taught us how to find matzeivot (tombstones) that were now underground, only then did I realize just how many matzeivot there were. Many are standing but there were hundreds underground!

After a person passes from this world, what is left in this world of who they were is only in the memories of those who are living and the matzeiva at his or her grave that commemorates the lives of the dead.

The matzeiva says things about the person. Was he rich or poor, married, did he have children, sometimes it tells us his profession and if he played an important role in the community. In our work, we were preserving the memory of who each of these people. It is an indescribable feeling to do this for another person. To bring their memory back into the world. This is especially important work in a community that was destroyed during the Holocaust.

It is hard to describe the personal and group strengths that this work brought out in us, and what we learned about ourselves.

Read more ...

Report from Alon Goldman, July 2014

Exciting days pass over the Gidonim in Czestochowa. Today they began in a tour led by me in the Jewish quarter of Czestochowa or rather what was left of it.

The work in the Cemetery is hard and fatiguing but this is a wonderful group, despite the difficulties, the heat and the mosquitoes they continue consistently, to work in pursuit of the goals they set for themselves.

Today another surprise awaited us.

Read more ...