Rachel Wetter's summer study abroad in Prague and Krakow:
(Jewish Studies major, '14, recipient of The Barry and Deborah Venezia Adler International Study Scholarship)
This summer I was awarded a generous scholarship to attend a two-month summer study abroad in the cities of Prague and Krakow run by Rutgers Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies. This program allowed me to study the complicated questions of heritage preservation in two cities with long and complex histories. As a Jewish Studies major, I was particularly interested in how these cities interact today with the heritage of their formerly large Jewish populations. I got to see first-hand what has been done with the material remains of the old Jewish neighborhoods in Prague and Krakow, as well as to visit the former concentration camps Terezin and Auschwitz and discuss how sites of painful memory fit into a country’s heritage. Interning with the ten-day Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow, I got a fascinating snapshot of the Jewish revival in Krakow. I learned more about how the Jewish community today is seeking to preserve the lost community’s immaterial heritage of traditions and artforms, as well as creating its own new traditions. Throughout the program, I had the opportunity to discuss what I observed with both my fellow classmates and professionals in the field. It was an inspiring and invaluable experience!