By the Numbers
– 4 days traveling
– 8,370 miles flown
– 10 cities visited
– 729 miles driven
– 4 flights
Usually when I travel for kashrus, I have a packed schedule and don’t have much time to go sightseeing; however, I do get to interact with the
different cultures and see beautiful scenery, interesting architecture of the buildings and homes, as well as the cobblestone streets, originally
designed for horses and buggies that are now used for regular cars…sights that are usually missed by the typical tourists.
Traveling in Germany is a juxtaposition of emotions, vacillating between remembering the devastation of the local Jewish communities during the Holocaust, and pride and awe at the current surge of Jewish life and kosher food on German soil.
One of the memorable plants that I visited during this trip was the iconic Toblerone facility. The Toblerone products have been produced in Bern,
Switzerland since the early 1900s and certified by the OK for many years. While they have upgraded their machines over the years to cutting-edge, modern equipment, they still have some of the original manufacturing equipment on display, as you can see in the picture. It was fascinating to see the way they used to produce chocolate over 100 years ago.
A lot of my traveling is done through industrial cities that don’t have active Jewish communities; however, on this trip, I got to spend a day in Hamburg – a city with a thriving Jewish community with three daily minyanim at Chabad of Hamburg. Interestingly, Chabad of Hamburg is located in a house that was owned by two Jewish families before the Holocaust and was recovered by Chabad of Hamburg.
On my way to Chabad of Hamburg, I passed through the central Hamburg train station. I learned that this exact train station was used by Hitler, ym”s, when he traveled to Hamburg with the intention of wiping out the Jewish people. It’s amazing to see that only a few blocks away is the center of a beautiful and growing Jewish community.
Through incredible Hashgacha Pratis, while visiting Chabad of Hamburg, I met IDF Chaplain Rabbi Touboul for the first time, not knowing that he had a prior connection to my family. 13 years ago, on Chanukah, my brother Levi a”h, was traveling to army bases and checkpoints near the Egyptian border on an outreach trip to spread the light of Chanukah. Tragically, the van was involved in a terrible car accident and my brother, along with two of his friends, passed away, never making it to the army base they were scheduled to visit. Rabbi Touboul was the chaplain that was waiting for my brother at the base that Chanukah. He shared how difficult it was for him and the rest of the soldiers to hear about the
accident and how hard they worked to keep the Chanukah spirit alive, in honor of my brother and his friends.