Netzer tour takes teens from Cable Street to Croatia


The Progressive European tour for teens, Kayitz, took a different route this year. Starting in London's East End, the 17-year-old participants visited sites of Jewish political activism, such as Cable Street.

Then it was off to Dubrovnik, where they took a rainy trip around some of the coastal islands as they delved into the story of the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492 - Spanish Jews came to Dubrovnik by boat, en route to countries such as Bosnia.

The party went on to Sarajevo, where they learned about the story of the Sarajevo Purim, in which Muslims and Jews united against the corrupt actions of the local Ottoman governor and prevented the execution of prominent Jewish community members.

Another stop was Jasenovac - a major Croatian Second World War concentration camp, where the museum features video testimonies from survivors of the camp, whose inmates were mostly Serbs, and an exhibition of their personal effects.

After walking along the tracks that brought people to the camp, they held a short ceremony, reciting Kaddish at its memorial.

It has really inspired me to become a youth leader

A long journey took the group to Vienna, the final stop, where they visited the Jewish quarter, including the Stadttempel, the one synagogue not destroyed by the Nazis on Kristallnacht.

They went on to the Holocaust memorial in the Judenplatz, a sculpture of a house made of books.

LJY-Netzer's Tom Francies said: "Although our previous route of Prague, Budapest and Berlin was unique when Kayitz Netzer began, it is now very well serviced by lots of Jewish youth organisations.

"Combining with Reform Judaism's youth movement, RSY-Netzer, on this new route saw those in school year 12 visiting the former Yugoslavia for the first time, as well as Austria."

Participant Simmie Stone, 17, of Kingston Liberal Synagogue, said it had been "an amazing opportunity to meet other Netzer members and we also had two Israelis on the trip, meaning that we could really come together as a Progressive Jewish community.

"It has really inspired me to become a youth leader. I can give back to a movement that has given me so much."

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