Today was our third whole day in Berlin, and also I think the first day this entire trip that we got a chance to sleep in. So after a leisurely morning, a group of us students meet to try and figure out how to get to the Oranienburg [Neue] Synagogue. After the many misadventures in Poland, I think many of us were a bit apprehensive to go on our own, so a group of us planned to meet in the hostel lobby at 12:20, in order to arrive at the synagogue by 1:00. But of course that is not what happened, we managed the subway route just fine, it was when we left the subway station, that we got a bit turned around. We didn’t get as lost as some of the students had in Poland, and still managed to get to the synagogue, a good 30 minutes before our tour started at 2:00.

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The Oranienburg Synagogue itself is incredibly beautiful and ornate, from the outside at least. After the synagogue was partially destroyed in World War II, the back half (where the main prayer hall was located) was torn down, and the front left standing to serve as a memorial. Today the synagogue serves mostly as just a museum and memorial to the Jewish life in Berlin pre-World War II, however there is still a prayer room and services held in the upper levels of the synagogue. The prayer room is new, it was added when the synagogue was partially restored, for unlike many of the other sites related to Jewish life in berlin and Poland, the Oranienburg Synagogue was not completely torn down, nor was it completely restored. This partial restoration, serves as a reminder of what was lost during the Nazi regime.[http://www.cjudaicum.de/en]

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I found the history of the synagogue amazing, and the place itself was pretty spectacular. At the end of the torn we were led up to the dome, from which we had a breathtaking view of the city. After the tour we ended the day at a Vietnamese café [https://www.facebook.com/BABANBE] around the corner from the synagogue, there is nothing like fresh fruit juice and a warm bahn mi to end the day.

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-Nicola

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