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Presentation by the Chief Rabbi of Uganda!


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Thanks to everyone who came out learn about Mezuzot and make one of their own!

The Pardes Companion to Shavuot

The Pardes Companion to Shavuot

Pardes is thrilled to share the next in our Holiday Companion Series: The Pardes Shavuot Companion. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people and the day’s Torah reading describes the Divine revelation of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Our study guide includes nine short…

Penn Hillel

Penn Hillel

The Storykeepers' Initiative seeks to continue the legacy of Holocaust survivors by having college students take on their role in society as the keepers of memory and re-tellers of history. This initiative pairs students up with a single survivor’s narrative, for which they will be responsible during their time in college. Students would work with the Holocaust Museum and their archivist, in order to build a relationship with a survivor’s narrative.

Applications will be due on Sunday, February 12th at midnight. Decisions will be made by February 17th. The first club meeting will be the week of February 20th.


Education Cohort wishes you good luck on finals!! Make sure to get enough sleep and take care of yourselves (:


Hillel Education takes Limmud Philly!


Great evening with Judy Klitsner and Shoresh!

LimmudPhilly – Center City Kehillah

Cyber Monday sale: 10% off Limmud Philly tickets! We have a group going, and we'd love to have you join us!
Email Elana Burack ([email protected]) TODAY if interested.

LimmudPhilly Schedule coming soon! Check back for updates! Young Limmud is a special learning experience for children ages 3-12. Children will have the opportunity to connect to Judaism in a fun and engaging multi-sensory space through art, cooking, music, immersive Hebrew, and dramatic storytelling...


Mazel Tov to the best duo that Hillel Education has ever seen: Benji Dukas and Leora Troy! You are going to rock it!
And Mazel Tov to everyone else too! (: Can't wait to see what this next group of Hillel leaders accomplishes.

We are thrilled to introduce to you our newest cohort of Hillel Leadership for 2017 🎉:
President: Maddie Gelfand
Vice President: Andy Joshowitz
Israel Sector Chair: Hannah Jaffe
Israel Programming Chairs: Elisheva Blas and Elena Prieto
Communications Chair: Elana Waldstein
TSJ Chairs: Jessica Landon and Hannah Deutsch
Holidays Chair: Jeremy Wilson
Shabbat Chairs: Orly Mintz and Eytan Deener-Agus
Social Chair: Lilli Leight
Welcoming Chairs: Olivia Neistat and Jacob Winick
Wellness Chair: Talia Seder
Education Chairs: Leora Troy and Benji Dukas
Design Chair: Aliza Hochsztein

We can't wait to see the amazing work they will do for us on PC and for Penn Hillel!


Prisoners arrested and taken to Buchenwald during Kristallnacht

Source: USHMM


Extract from Account B8 – 16 November 1938
An eyewitness account first translated in 2008

When we arrived at the camp, first of all our names were called and entered in a register, then we were made to line up in the courtyard from about five in the morning till about two in the afternoon. Anyone who moved was kicked or punched in the face. Our requests to be allowed to relieve ourselves were denied, and the guards responded with the most coarse abuse. Finally at about midday a senior officer agreed that we could be taken together to the latrine. The first food was not distributed until 24 hours after our arrest. The food was good.
We had to hand over all our clothes, and received in return ragged concentration camp clothing, consisting of threadbare army uniforms, overalls and the like. Jews are completely forbidden to smoke in Oranienburg and are not allowed to cater for themselves, or buy anything in the canteen.
The next day we had to do drill. It was bearable for the younger ones, as many of us had been front-line soldiers. The older men collapsed, and were kicked, punched, slapped in the face and hit with rifle butts, always accompanied by the most vulgar and obscene insults. Among the prisoners in my section was H., a businessman from H., over 70 years old, and former lawyer J., also over 70. Both were mistreated in the manner described above. When people returned to the line after individual drill, they were kicked so that they fell flat on their faces, and then without provocation the guards trampled on their backs and buttocks with their hobnailed boots.
The camp Commandant inspected the ranks at roll-call. Sometimes he stopped and insulted one of the prisoners in a very coarse manner, which cannot be repeated. He said without provocation to a man next to me, ‘Now I’ve got to take my glove off especially for you, you filthy Jewish swine’, and after he had calmly done this, he struck the unfortunate victim several times in the face and on the chin.

Source: UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust


Source: Jewish Journal
From his family’s second-floor apartment on Berlin’s Greifswalder Strasse, during the late-night hours of Nov. 9 or very early on Nov. 10, 1938, Tom heard the crashing of glass as bricks or rocks were heaved through the windows of the street-level shops. Tom’s mother, Irene Tugendreich, hustled Tom, 13, and his older sister, Brigitte, into her bedroom, and then his usually undemonstrative mother lay down and cuddled her children in the dark room.
At one point, the doorbell rang. The owner of the stationery store on the building’s ground level stood in the hallway, deathly pale and shaking. “Can you hide me?” he begged. The gentile landlady, who had answered the door and who also lived on the second floor, was too frightened to take him in; her Jewish husband had been sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp just a few days earlier. But she allowed the man to run through Tom’s apartment and out the back door. Tom didn’t feel particularly frightened at the time, he said, but, “I always remember his face, that absolutely horror-stricken face.”
Tom, his sister and mother returned to the bedroom. Tom continued to hear the shattering glass and the shouting mob. The three of them were grateful that Tom’s father was in the United States, as he undoubtedly would have been arrested.
The following day, Tom went to school. He remembers seeing the shattered glass on the streets and the stores being boarded up. But in a few days, life returned to what was then normal. He was riding his bike to school and playing soccer, the activity that mattered most to him at the time.
His father, Gustav, a highly respected pediatrician and a World War I medical officer, had believed for a long time that Hi**er was an aberration. But by 1937, when Gustav was no longer permitted to treat non-Jewish patients and when the family was forced to move from their upper-middle-class apartment to a smaller one in a working-class neighborhood, Gustav realized it was time to leave. Plus, he was likely influenced by Irene’s more pronounced sense of urgency. But by that time, most countries had closed their borders, and it was impossible to obtain visas.
Gustav, however, had tracked down the American and British Quakers, with whom he had worked in Germany in 1919 feeding hungry children. They found an immigration law exception for academicians and secured Gustav a one-year lectureship at the University of London in 1937-38 and one at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania the following year, thus qualifying him for a non-quota visa. Meanwhile, after the Munich Agreement in September 1938 and again after Kristallnacht, Gustav had been writing the family urgent letters from the United States, begging them to depart as soon as possible.
Finally, on April 20, 1939, with flags bedecking the city to celebrate Hi**er’s 50th birthday, Tom, Brigitte and Irene boarded a plane from Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport to London. They then traveled to Southampton and sailed by passenger ship to New York.

Photo: Tom and his mother in Philadelphia in 1939, their first year in the United States.



Extract from Account B243 – 15 December 1938

From a statement by a 17-year-old youth to the Children’s Committee in Amsterdam.

I would like to outline our situation to you very briefly: as a result of the events of recent weeks, we are completely impoverished. Neither my parents nor I nor any of my siblings have any prospect of earning a living – and we are a family of seven. Can you imagine how the future looks for us now? In spite of all this, there would be one thing that would make our desperate situation at least bearable – the hope of emigration; but there is not the slightest change even of that. The eviction notice from our flat takes effect on 31 January 1939. All our efforts to find a new flat have been unavailing – and just seven weeks to go to 31 January. But even that is not the worst.

My father was taken into preventive detention 5 weeks ago – but even that has not exhausted the cruelties of Fate. We were struck by yet another crushing blow: as a result of the recent disturbances, my mother has suffered a very severe nervous breakdown…if you wish, I can provide a medical certificate to prove this.

Can you now understand why we are desperately appealing for your help, in spite of your letter? Can you have any idea what emotions these bare facts are arousing in the souls of small, innocent children? Do you understand now that it is indeed a duty to help in this case? In the name of my parents, my brothers and sisters and myself I beseech you fervently for one thing – help us!!

Source: UK Holocaust Memorial Day Fund


"I was living in Hamburg at the time. I was a student at an advanced preparatory school next to our synagogue. I remember we could look out the windows of the school and see the synagogue. The morning after Kristallnacht, I remember we looked out the windows and we could see just strands of glass where the windows of the synagogue had been destroyed. The entire inside of the synagogue had been burnt out. Our teacher got there in the morning and then let us out early due to what had happened. He went home to offer his prayers.

During that time there were the brown shirts and the black shirts. The black shirts were the SS and the brown shirts were the SA. They had a quota for the number of men they had to arrest. They sat in front of the home of our rabbi, but for some reason he was not arrested. My father was also not arrested, despite the fact that we lived just across the courtyard from an SS soldier. Many others were imprisoned and interned in the camps. My family decided it was best if my father left Germany. In June, 1939, all his papers were in order, and he left for England in September of 1939.

The war broke out very soon after that as Germany invaded Poland, and England and France got involved. My father went to Scotland Yard and informed the English that he had family in Germany. Before we could leave to join him, however, my mother was called to meet with the Gestapo, where they asked her about my father. The Gestapo had intercepted a letter from my mother to my father, and on the 7th day of the Passover, the Gestapo gave me and my mother 24 hours to leave Germany, or we would be arrested.

We left Hamburg on the last day of Passover and took a train to Italy. In Italy there were two boats: the Manhattan and the Roma. The Roma was an Italian boat, but its passengers never got to depart because Mussolini did not allow the ship to sail. I do not know what happened to the passengers of that boat. My mother and I were on the Manhattan, which left as scheduled and sailed to New York. My father left England three days later and we eventually met up in New York, where we stayed for eleven weeks. After those eleven weeks, we moved to Cincinnati, where we had relatives.

There are some important things to keep in mind. Our rabbi, who played a great role in my growth and development, refused to leave Germany, but he knew exactly what was going on. Much like a captain refusing to abandon ship, he stayed in Germany with the Jews. Also, Hamburg was not at this time antisemitic. The N***s had to import people from southern Germany to do their dirty work in destroying Hamburg’s synagogues. The people in Hamburg would not destroy anything; they would not lay a finger on the Jewish buildings. Also, there were other synagogues in Hamburg that were not Jewish, and these were not destroyed. After Kristallnacht, we moved to a Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. It was not completely orthodox but we were able to make changes to make it work for us. We were the only place in Germany that was still able to worship in a synagogue after Kristallnacht took place."

-Hugo Eichelberg, Cincinatti



A broken Jewish storefront in Berlin

Source: Jewish Virtual Library

75 Years Later: How the World Shrugged Off Kristallnacht - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Despite nominally condemning the events on Kristallnacht, diplomats in Germany failed to fully grasp N**i radicalism before it was too late.

Read more here:

In the days surrounding Nov. 9, 1938, the N***s committed the worst pogrom Germany had seen since the Middle Ages. To mark the incident's 75th anniversary, an exhibition in Berlin gathers previously unknown reports by foreign diplomats, revealing how the shocking events prompted little more than hol...


Synagogue in Opava

Source: Jewish Virtual Library


"You must first remember the context of my experience. In 1938, I was 13 years old and had experienced N**i Germany for the last five years. I was 8 years old in 1933 when the N**i party took over the German government. Even with this beginning event, my whole lifestyle as a Jewish child changed drastically.

I lived in a small town with a very small Jewish community. There were about 220 Jews in my community, and only about 22 Jewish children. Our whole life centered on a small room in our town’s synagogue, which was our safe haven from the outside world and from N**i Germany. At this point in time, Jews were not allowed on playgrounds or in parks. We were not allowed entrance to movies or restaurants. There were signs that stated, “Jews and dogs prohibited” or “Jews die in the gutter.”

All the children gathered in the synagogue every day. The cub scouts and girl scouts were put together, based on what training they had. There were Zionist overtones to our community; the ultimate goal was to return to Israel. When we were in the synagogue, we were not bothered with what was going on in the outside world. It was in that very room in the synagogue that I was able to celebrate my Bar Mitzvah in February of 1938. It was a very simple celebration with soft drinks and cake, but it was held in a safe environment.

It happened on November 9th. I had heard 2 or 3 days earlier that von Rath had been shot and killed by a Jewish boy in Paris. I had no idea what would happen later.

All the synagogues in Germany were destroyed. In our town, the synagogue was not burned, because if it was burned it would have burned down the entire block, and the N***s did not want this. However, no one stopped them from destroying the entire inside of the synagogue. This changed my entire life, as this had been our safe haven. In 1936, every Jewish ID card had to be stamped with the letter “J” for “Jude,” meaning “Jew.” Now with Kristallnacht, every Jewish male had to add the name “Israel” and every Jewish female had to add the name “Sarah.” So, I became Werner Israel Coppel. My entire social life stopped, and life changed direction completely. I was eventually sent to Auschwitz in 1945.

Now as I look back 70 years later, the lesson for all of us is that what happened in Germany was a consequence of racism, hate, and prejudice. Every new generation must be aware that the cancer of hate and prejudice is also with us today. There is no way anyone can walk away from messages that contain racism, prejudice, name-calling, etc. You must always stand up against racism and prejudice, even if you are not being directly persecuted."
-Werner Coppel

Courtesy of Werner Coppel and the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education


Interior of the Hechingen synagogue after Kristallnacht


Destroyed interior of synagogue in Aachen

Source: Jewish Virtual Library


Tax documents like this one were issued by the N***s to force Jews to pay for the costs of Kristallnacht

Source: Jewish Virtual Library


Baden-Baden Synagogue, in flames

Source: Yad Vashem


Extract from account B74 Undated
At about 3.30 in the morning on 10 November, I was warned by telephone not to stay in the flat, as my arrest was imminent. I immediately left the flat with my wife and son, and wandered around the streets. I first of all met the wife of a banker who lived locally; she too was wandering the streets, dressed in the shabbiest clothes. I then encountered a large number of Jews who were under police es**rt and had evidently been arrested. It was obvious where Jews lived from the lighted windows and the tinkling noises coming from the flats. In one house, inhabited only by Jews, all the windows were lit. Two police officers were standing in front of the house with their backs to the wall, completely unconcerned. Uniformed SA and SS men were everywhere. A senior officer of my acquaintance was woken by the disturbance and telephoned the riot squad asking them to send help, as people were evidently trespassing in his house and committing other offences. The riot squad replied that there was nothing they could do, as it had all been ordered by a higher authority.
When we returned to our flat, nothing had been stolen, but everything had been vandalised and destroyed; paintings slashed, eiderdowns ripped to shreds, valuable antique chairs smashed and the cushions torn apart. After wandering around for hours, I was arrested at the station and was taken to the prison gym with about 100 other Jewish citizens. About 6 of these were injured; and an 80-year-old man had his head bandaged, as a bowl had been broken over it. There was also a rabbi aged about 60 among the prisoners, and another man of 77. I myself was released after 10 hours, because I had a visa for the States and am a front-line officer.

Source: UK Holocaust Memorial Day Fund


Prayer books damaged by fire at the synagogue in Bobenhausen

Source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum


Source: Jewish Journal

Risa was asleep in the early morning hours of Nov. 10, 1938, when the sound of boots kicking the front door of their house awakened her abruptly. “Where’s the money?” she heard the intruders shout. Risa, 21, and her older sister, Edith, who shared a bedroom, heard them enter their parents’ bedroom. “You’re coming with us,” they ordered Risa’s father, Ruben. The girls got out of bed and started dressing. “I was shaking like a leaf,” Risa recalled. The Brownshirts burst into their bedroom, searching for money, then left with Ruben. Risa and Edith stood together, holding onto one another. “I was so scared, just so scared,” Risa remembered.
About an hour later, Risa ventured into the living room. Daylight had broken, and she looked out the window onto Favoritenstrasse, one of Vienna’s main streets, to see other Brownshirts pulling away in Ruben’s first-ever new car. She kept pacing back and forth to the window. At one point, she saw SS and Brownshirts marching up and down the street, singing. Another time, she glanced at the window of the house across the street to see a neighbor sticking out her tongue at her.
The following night, Risa’s half-brother, Paul Knie, managed to cross Austria’s border and head for Belgium. Then on Sunday, Risa was walking alone when she was stopped by the Brownshirts, who forced her to eat grass. She also saw elderly Jews she knew, on their hands and knees cleaning the sidewalks. “That was very upsetting for me,” she recalled.
The family did not learn Ruben’s fate until a month later, when they received a letter from him. He had been taken to Dachau and then Buchenwald.
In early January 1939, Risa, following in her sister’s footsteps, left for London on a domestic visa sent by an English family looking for a servant. Soon after, she was promoted to the position of nanny for the couple’s two young children.
Back in Vienna, Risa’s stepmother went to N**i headquarters and bribed an SS official, who agreed to release Ruben with the stipulation that the couple leave Austria immediately. They boarded a boat to Palestine but were refused entry. Other ports were also closed. They finally landed on the island of Mauritius, off the southeast coast of Africa, where they were imprisoned for three years.
Before Kristallnacht, Paul had gone to the American consulate to search its telephone books for people with their surname, Knie, writing letters pleading for help. A couple in Chicago, Max and Tesse Knee, who were not related, responded, offering affidavits for all the family members. “They were just good people,” Risa said. Her parents arrived in New York around 1944.


Germans pass broken window of Jewish-owned shop

Source: Jewish Virtual Library


Source: Jewish Journal

As evening fell on Nov. 10, 1938, Rita heard a huge crash outside her family’s apartment on Berlin’s Metzer Strasse. She looked out the front window and there, next to the entrance to their building, she saw four or five Brownshirts throwing cement blocks through the windows of the stores that occupied the ground floor. Rita’s mother, F***y, started screaming. She dragged 10-year-old Rita away from the window and closed the drapes.
The family gathered in the living room, in the center of the apartment and away from the front windows and the back staircase. Rita sat in the dark with her parents and older brother, Bill (W***y). Her middle brother, Jona (Heinz), had immigrated to Palestine several months earlier. Time moved slowly. “I was so scared. It was the only time I was almost traumatized,” Rita recalled. While Max Atterman, her father, thought the N**i hysteria would pass, Rita believed this was the end.
The next day, Rita saw the store windows had been boarded up and the owners were sweeping up shattered glass. “There was not one store that wasn’t hit,” she said. Rita went to school that day, but no one talked about what had happened.
Life had become increasingly unhappy for Rita as Hi**er gained power. A gymnast and a sprinter, she had dreams of participating in the Olympics and desperately wanted to attend the 1936 Berlin Games. But Jews were not allowed. Her father did take her, however, to watch the men’s 50-kilometer walk, which took place along city streets.
About a year later, in 1937, Rita and her mother were walking near Alexanderplatz when the crowd began buzzing that Hi**er was approaching. Everything quickly came to a standstill, and F***y warned her daughter, “You better raise your hand now and scream, ‘Heil, Hi**er.’ ” Rita shouted the salute as the Führer rode by in his open car, his arm raised. “I felt terrible,” Rita recalled.
Kristallnacht convinced F***y that it was time to leave Germany, but Max wanted to stay. He thought again, however, as people around them began making plans to emigrate. Then, after visiting various consulates in Berlin, he discovered the world was blocked off to Jews.
One day, a family friend came to visit. “We’re getting out of here, and you are, too. We’re going to China,” she told F***y and Max. Max thought she was crazy.
In December 1938, Max made arrangements to send Rita to live with his niece in Antwerp, Belgium. When the smuggler came for her, Rita was frightened. “You have to go. It’ll save your life,” her mother told her. The man, who was Jewish, delivered Rita to her relatives. “They were wonderful people,” she said.
In July 1939, the niece’s husband brought Rita back to Berlin, and a week later, Rita, her parents and her brother Bill boarded a train to Italy. “A stone fell off my parents’ hearts. They were getting away,” Rita said. They took a passenger ship to Shanghai, and in 1947, she and Bill immigrated to Los Angeles.


Interior of Essenweinstrasse Synagogue in Nuremberg following destruction on Kristallnacht

Source: Yad Vashem, via US Holocuast Memorial Museum


Source: Jewish Journal

Late on the morning of Nov. 10, 1938, Herb and his father, Leo, were walking home from their weekly visit to the public baths,when from a distance they saw the Turner Temple in flames. Only a year and four months earlier, Herb had become a bar mitzvah at this Vienna synagogue, but now N**i Brownshirts, also called SA or Stormtroopers, were standing around with the local police, watching the building burn, and a crowd of Austrians had gathered and were cheering the sight. Herb and Leo stayed in the shadows. “We were very afraid,” Herb said. “We tried to get home as quickly as possible.”

They arrived at their apartment on Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna’s main shopping street, around noon to find Herb’s mother, Irma, in tears. Later that afternoon, Herb peeked out of their living room window and saw hordes of Brownshirts going from building to building, breaking the windows of apartments and stores where Jews lived and shopped. He also witnessed the Brownshirts roughing up Jewish men, dragging them out of their apartment buildings. Herb’s family fully expected the N***s to come to their door to take Leo, and possibly 14-year-old Herb. They sat on the couch, wearing their overcoats because the apartment didn’t have central heat, and waited.

Suddenly the doorbell rang. Irma opened the door and was surprised to find their electrician standing there, responding to their call from several days earlier to repair a broken radio. “I can’t understand what’s going on,” he told the Jellineks. “It’s ridiculous.”
Herb and his parents waited the rest of the night, listening to their newly repaired radio and staying quiet so as to not draw attention to themselves. They learned later that their concierge had steered the N***s away, informing them no Jews lived in the building.
The next day, Herb’s parents resolved to leave Austria.

Photo: Herbert Jellinek with his parents at his bar mitzvah in 1937


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