The World That Was Poland Tour
July 3rd - July 8th, 2018
Sha'alvim For Women
Adult Poland Tour
for men & women
July 2-7, 2019
Rabbi Goldsmith is well known and respected for his warm and engaging personality, attended Yeshivat Sha’alvim for two years before serving in the I.D.F with the Yeshivat Shaalvim Hesder Machal program. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University, a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University, was ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, and is completing his doctoral dissertation in Curriculum and Teaching at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He has worked in both formal and informal Jewish education in the United States and in Israel for 30 years. Rav Yamin lives with his wife, Joy, and their children in Beit Shemesh.
Assistant Director/Dean of Students
Michelle received her BA from Stern College and her MSW from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. After almost a decade of guidance and teaching in high schools in the U.S., Michelle and her family made Aliyah to Beit Shemesh where they currently reside. Michelle has spent numerous summers in Camp Simcha, Camp Mesorah, and other informal educational environments, including NCSY Michlelet. Michelle has been at SFW since its inception and she has been the recipient of many prestigious awards for academic achievement.
Mechanech at SFW/Professional Poland Tour Guide
For the past decade, David has been a beloved mechanech at SFW. He feels humbled and blessed to be part of the Shaalvim family of luminaries who serve at the forefront of the Dati Leumi community. Since 2007, he has led many successful Poland tours for participants from all over the globe, and from many different backgrounds. His trips are educational and meaningful. His guiding is informative and always enthused with passion. David lives with his family in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
We will begin our tour at Warsaw's Jewish cemetery, where we will meet over 200 years of Warsaw's illustrious Jewish personalities. We will continue to the Warsaw Ghetto, and learn of the horrific living conditions which led to the death of approximately 100,000 Jews. From there, we will visit Mila 18, the bunker headquarters of the Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) - the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Heroes, followed by the Umschlagplatz, the gathering point from where an estimated 254,000 of Warsaw's Jews were loaded into cattle cars and sent to the Treblinka.
We will then head to Treblinka, the extermination camp where 900,000 Jews were executed upon arrival.
We will being our day at the illustrious Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin, the prestigious pre-Holocaust Yeshiva where the Daf Yomi was invented and where one needed to memorize 400 pages of Talmud to apply. We will experience the Yeshiva with a shiur given by Rabbi Goldsmith. We will then take a short drive to Majdanek Concentration Camp, where the original gas chambers and crematorium still stand.
We will end our day at the kever of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, the father of a Hasidic dynasty and author of the "Noam Elimelech," with a lively tisch.
We will visit the picturesque baroque style shul of the town of Lancut. We will then travel to Tarnow's market square from where the local Jews were rounded up and deported, and see the remains of Tarnow's Old Synagogue.
We will pay respect at Zbylitowska Gora, the forest where 7,000 of Tarnow's Jews were murdered, and visit the mass grave of 800 Jewish children.
We will then head to Krakow, and visit Osckar Schindler's factory and the Old Jewish cemetery of Krakow, where we will "meet" the 16th century halachic authority, Rabbi Moshe Isserles (Ramah) and Yossele the Holy Miser.
We will visit Auschwitz I and the museum of genocide. See the piles of belongings of those who were gassed. Look through the book of the names and history of 4,200,000 of the Nazi's victims. We will also visit Birkenau, the "Jewish Auschwitz." Stand where the infamous selection was conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele. Witness the horrifying living conditions.
Before shabbat begins, we will pay our respects at Sarah Shnirer's kever. As the founder of the Bais Yaakov Schools, she is known as the mother of advanced Torah studies for women.
We will daven Kabbalat Shabbat in the Isaac Shul, built in the 17th century, followed by a spirited Shabbat dinner.
We will experience teffilat Shabbat in the famous Shul of Rabbi Moshe Isserles (The Ramah), followed by a walking tour of Krakow's Synagogues, including the progressive Temple Synagogue, and the Alta Shul. Our festive Shabbat lunch will be followed by a women's shiur by Michelle Elmaleh at the location of the first Bais Yaakov. Shabbat afternoon will include a visit to the Galicia Museum, featuring a photo exhibition documenting the remnants of Jewish culture and life in Polish Galicia.
Meet a Polish Gentile who has been honoured by the State of Israel with the Righteous Among the Nations Medal.
Lodz's Jewish cemetery is Europe's largest Jewish cemetery. There, we will visit the tribute to Bnei Akiva and the 6 empty mass graves. We will visit the Lodz Ghetto, where the Judenrat demanded parents to hand over their children to the Nazis. We will enter the Radegast cattle car and hear of the road to agony.
We will then take the one hour journey to Chelmno, the first Nazi extermination camp - where diesel from the exhaust pipe of a truck was used to gas approximately 300,000 Jews. Then we will visit Dabie, a shtetl where the shul now serves as a Polish apartment building.
We will end our tour with a closing dinner, after which transfer to Warsaw's WAW Airport and local hotels will be provided.
*Subject to change
How do we meet up in Poland?
On Tuesday, July 2nd pick you up from the arrivals terminal of Warsaw's Chopin Airport at 9am, or from your Warsaw hotel at 10am. Our trip concludes in Warsaw on Sunday, June 2nd at 8:30pm.
If you require accommodations or logistical assistance before or after the trip, please be in touch with David at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We travel on a beautiful coach bus, with reclining seats, to ensure you are comfortable throughout our travels. We show movies on the bus during some of our longer drives.
Our caterer prepares 3 quality Glatt-Kosher meals a day.
Throughout our trip, we are accompanied by an armed security guard. Our guard is professional and experienced, and keeps us feeling safe throughout our journey.
Prior to the trip, you should arrange your own medical/travel insurance.
Participants individually arrange for and pay for their flights.
The early-bird price is $2425 USD for those registering and paying a down-payment by Sunday, December 16th, 2018.
The all-inclusive tour land cost is $2,625 USD*. Your spot is reserved upon paying the down-payment of $450 USD. The deadline for submitting the down-payment is Sunday, March 10, 2019. The deadline for submitting the balance of the payment is Sunday, April 14th. Click here to pay.
*The single room supplement fee is $485USD.
Please note down-payments are nonrefundable.
In the event that the balance has been paid:
- Cancellations more than 60 days prior to tour – 90% of balance returned.
- Cancellations between 30 to 60 days prior to tour – 50% of balance returned.
- Cancellations less than 30 days prior to tour – no refunds.
What participants from the 2018 tour are saying:
"The SFW Adult Poland trip was everything I ever could have hoped for and MORE. The historical perspective, combined with the Torah aspect and an appreciation of the significant Jewish presence in Poland before the war, provided a comprehensive understanding of the enormity of the Shoah and allowed for an amazing interplay between the sadness and mourning and the greatness that are the Jewish people."
Alan Steinmetz (Woodmere, New York)
"The Shalavim Adult Tour to Poland was an unforgettable experience. Whether the leaders, the accommodations, or the group comradeship, each represented the very best opportunities for a warm, inspirational visit."
Susan Fruchter (Lawrence, New York)
"I really have no words. I don't even know where to begin. This past week was the most incredible week for me..... I learned so much history and facts I have never known before. But more than that, I learned things about myself I had never tapped into...The way you had every detail covered is mind boggling.”
Sue Gershon (Beit Shemesh, Israel)
"Combining the talents of Rabbi David Abrahamovitz as a master tour guide, historian and story teller with the added talents of Rabbi Yamin Goldsmith and Rebetzin Michelle Elmaleh from the Shalavim for Women Seminary on an adult tour of Poland this summer was like hitting the jackpot!!!
The tour was everything I could have hoped for and more. It was meaningful, inspiring and life-changing... The sites chosen were well edited to paint a vivid picture of the Jewish life in Poland that existed before the war and the horrors that were experienced during the Holocaust. Our shabbat experience in Krakow was amazing as a time to reflect on all we had seen and to reaffirm that "Am Yisrael Chai"...
Rabbi David shared with us many personal testimonies that he has collected from survivors which greatly enriched his explanations. Rabbi Yamin and Rebbetzin Michelle shared with us many beautiful divrei torah and other vorts. Their warmth and their insights added so much...
There was Torah learning, there were great discussions, there was singing, there was laughter and tears. Our group boarded the bus as strangers and bonded over this trip as a family. I can't recommend this trip enough and I can't stop talking about it!"
Edie Friedman (Montreal, Canada)