Thursday, July 12, 2012

Step 3: Tie Up Loose Ends

So I don't think it fully hit me that I leave tomorrow until this morning in minyan* while the cantor was doing a misheberach* for me, and everyone asked when I leave.  And my response was "...tomorrow." This trip is finally starting to feel real, which is scary and exciting and nerve-wracking and mind-blowing all at the same time.  Last night I went home to do laundry and write thank-you notes* (see Fundraising page about that) and give my mom a chance to fret some more. I called Delta today to register for the SkyMiles program so I can get points for all this flying I'm about to do.  I still have to get some currency exchanged, figure out where I'm staying on Saturday night (so unlike me to leave this until now...whoops), and pack (that's a big one), but things really are falling into place.  I'm meeting up with my aunt again tonight to get the ring and some more photographs, and to say goodbye to my Grandma before I leave. 

That's a big one.  I had a lot of anxiety over leaving, mostly tied to her--she's 90 and practically healthier than I am, minus the whole Alzheimer's bit (which most of my friends would tell you is a problem I have as well)--but I've still been so nervous to be so far away, maybe even more so because I'm going on this whole trip because of her.  That loose end will definitely be the hardest to tie up.  I'm even kind of sort of maybe okay with leaving work for a whole week.  But a whole week without my grandma, even though before Tuesday I hadn't seen her in three weeks, so far away, is still scary.  And unfortunately, I don't think she can figure out Skype.  I'll have bits of her life with me--I'll actually be surrounded by and immersed in her life, so that's helpful.

Last loose end tied up: today's issue of the Jewish Advocate has a pretty cool article.  For those of you with a subscription, just click here.  For those of you without, see below.  I've just stuck the whole thing right in here.  (I hope that's okay!)  Special super amazing thanks to Susie Davidson for putting this together and making it happen.  

The Jewish Advocate

July 13, 2012 Edition

A trip into family’s darkest days

In Berlin, granddaughter to meet others affected by Shoah
By Susie Davidson
Special to the Advocate
Alyse Lichtenstein and her grandmother Irene Wolf.When Alyse Lichtenstein’s grandmother was her age, she was trapped in the Nazi murder machine.
This week, the Boston University senior departs for her grandmother’s native land, Germany, to meet with others directly or indirectly affected by the Holocaust: survivors, perpetrators, resisters, bystanders and those, like Lichtenstein, who are descendants.
They will gather in Berlin under the auspices of One by One ... Descendants of the Third Reich and the Holocaust in Dialogue, an international non-profit organization launched in 1995. Co-founders include Rosalie Gerut, a professional musician and 2G active at Kerem Shalom in Concord.
This is the first year that the program has been open to the 3Gs, the third generation since the Holocaust. Besides holding discussions, attendees will visit relevant historic sites.
“Through this experience, each side can explore the distinctive history and perspectives of the other,” said Lichtenstein, who with other 3G’s from the United States and Germany will stay in a house outside of Berlin for the five-day program. “[We’ll] get to know each other personally as we share meals and spend time together,” she said.
Lichtenstein, who lives in Framingham, has launched an appeal for help to defray the $2,300 cost of the trip. She is enrolled in BU’s School of Education, majoring in English education and English literature.
Lichtenstein’s grandmother, Irene Wolf, was born in 1921 in the picturesque village of Kobern on the Mosel River in Germany’s wine country. Wolf was imprisoned at Terezin outside Prague from 1942 until mid-1944, when she was transported to Auschwitz. In January 1945, she was marched more than 400 miles to Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. She was liberated the following April. Today she lives in Peabody.
“My grandma has always been the image of quiet strength in the face of adversity, and she has always been clear about the fact that she has forgiven the actions of those who carried out the Holocaust,” said Lichtenstein. “She is the reason I feel so connected to this element of my family’s past.”
Lichtenstein recently attended the Café Europa event at Temple Reyim sponsored by the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and the German Consulate in Boston.
Looking ahead to her career, Lichtenstein said she would like to expand Holocaust education curricula. “My target demographic is urban youth, especially in Boston, to whom my personal history is foreign, intangible and, at times, unbelievable,” she said.
Lichtenstein, who leaves July 13 and returns July 22, said she would like to share her trip experiences with various community groups across Boston by giving presentations and hosting discussions.
To contribute to the trip, email or visit Lichtenstein’s blog,

That's post may very well be from the airport!


*minyan: a gathering of 10+ Jewish adults (generally over the age of 13).  In this context, I'm technically referring to shacharit, morning services, for which we had a minyan, which meant we could say kaddish, the prayer of mourning, and other various things for which a minyan is required.   I don't know that that cleared much up for you, but there's always Google.

*misheberach: literally "he who blesses" or "may the one who blesses." Generally a prayer said over the sick, but can also be applied for other things.  Like travel.

*Really, I can't thank everyone who contributed enough.  Check your mailboxes!

1 comment:

  1. So fun to read these pre-trip posts in retrospect. Reese, you rock! Congratulations. I hope you'll keep up this blog after re-entry.