Central Europe #2 – Update #2

Hello Friends and Family!

Please enjoy the following update written by Anna, one of the teens on our trip!

Hello fellow BBYO parents!

Day 4 was our last morning in Prague before departing for a very eventful day in Budapest! In the morning we woke up, ate breakfast and then hopped on an 8 hour bus ride to Budapest! One of the highlights on the bus ride, beside the pretty views was our speed “friendship” game. Everyone was sent a set of questions through WhatsApp and people on the outside of the rows would rotate forward to the next person, each time they got through the list. We all got a chance to personally meet and converse with people on our journey. I thoroughly enjoyed this activity because I talked to people I wouldn’t have before. The long bus ride ended and we finally arrived in Budapest! Our first stop was the Buda Castle Labyrinth. We roamed around the underground tunnels looking around as we carried around a lantern for light. After that, we walked across the Chain Bridge over the Danube river, climbed up Castle Hill and took awesome photos to wrap up an awesome day. After photos we went to dinner at a local Chabad house, before returning to our hotel.

Day 5, was our second and last day in Budapest which was a very action packed day. In the morning, we woke up and ate breakfast before departing to reflect at the somber “Shoes on the Danube Bank” installation. Each shoe represented a Hungarian Jewish life taken at the hands of the holocaust. One of our counselors, Ryan, gave his group roles to speak about the shoes and what each one represents. We wrapped up the memorial reciting the Mourners Kaddish and Hatikvah. After experiencing the Memorial, we moved onto the Dohany Synagogue and Jewish Museum. We learned about different Hungarian beliefs including, “Neolog Judaism” which tells us about the two large communal organizations among Hungarian Jewry. Neologs were more inclined to integrate themselves into Hungarian Society, which created a second golden age for Hungary. As a result, generations of Jewish children thrived and many Hungarian people were more confident to raise their children under the laws of Judaism. After witnessing the beautiful Synagogue, we visited the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial. Wallenberg played a vital role in rescuing many Hungarian Jews in need during WW2. After our intriguing history lesson, we left the grounds of the synagogue for the pools of the Szechenyi thermal spa. Whether you wanted to hangout in the Jacuzzi or pool, there was something for everyone. After the thermal spa we showered off, and spent the rest of the evening eating at an Orthodox house and cruising down the Danube river splitting Buda from Pest. The trip is going really well and Hungary was an unique experience I will certainly never forget!

-Anna

More updates soon!

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