May 21, 2024
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Touro Students Learn Jewish History Through Summer Course in Europe

(Courtesy of Touro College) Touro College brought 60 students to study the Holocaust in Germany and the Czech Republic through a unique 10-day immersive summer course. Each year, students travel to different places in Europe that offer real-world opportunities to learn Jewish history and Holocaust history, as part of a program presented by Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies.

Founded by Touro professors Simcha Fishbane and Israel Singer, the course is taught by both Touro faculty and local experts. “Our goal is to broaden students’ perspectives and build their awareness of the history, the geography and the future of Jews in Europe,” said Professor Singer.

This year’s students recently toured ancient synagogues, Jewish ghettos and concentration camps in Prague, Nuremburg and Munich.

“When Touro’s program began five years ago, 15 students attended. This year 60 students joined the journey. The trip itself lasted 10 days, but the impact lasts a lifetime. It is different each year so some students come more than once,” explained Fishbane.

The group visited the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Nuremburg Trial courtrooms and the memorial to the Munich massacre, among other locales. They heard from experts including Florian Dierl, head of the Documentation Center at Nuremberg and Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz, the vice rabbi of Munich. They davened on Shabbos in the famous Altneuschul, built in the 13th century, where the Maharal of Prague davened.

Each day students heard relevant lectures and participated in guided walking tours and lots of discussion. There was also time set aside for students to enjoy the local sights.

Back in New York, Joel Friedman, a student at Touro’s Lander College for Men, reflected on the experience. “I now appreciate that I can mostly walk around America peacefully without the fear of discrimination… I always knew that there weren’t too many of us remaining; however, when walking in the streets of Germany, this has become more evident to me. It is as if I have been living in a closed box my entire life,” he said.

For more information visit www.touro.edu

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