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My trip coincided with the first night of Hanukkah (which, for the record, is probably my favourite holiday..there’s fire, fried foods, and chocolate pennies…). Now it wasn’t really feasible to travel with a whole menorah, so we decided to improvise…with a bar of soap and some birthday candles.

We did pretty well I think. (In case you need to do this, keep in mind that the plastic holders that the candles sit in do melt if you let them burn all the way down in the correct manner.)

Earlier that day, we went to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which is worth a trip to Berlin on its own.

The architecture is stunning, the museum interacts with the architecture beautifully, and the storytelling is pretty spectacular. I’m really really picky about museums and how they’re laid out and the only thing I could find wrong with this one was the toilet doors.

It was also not too Holocaust-heavy, which I appreciate a lot. I am all for the preservation of the memory of that particular chapter in history, but personally I don’t need a lot of reminding, I thought it was a bad idea from the beginning.

So after a really thought-provoking entrance to the museum (including an amazing sensory experience which was almost more powerful than the exhibits themselves), we gamboled through the rest of the museum.

There was a lot of interactive stuff, and they did a good job of bringing in aspects of other religions. In the little chill out area which showed short films about ritual, we discovered that Terry Gilliam had a less surreal, cheerier twin working on the graphics.

We must have spent about four hours there, and if I hadn’t been dropping with hunger, I could probably have gone another two.

As we left, this sign reminded me that they probably had the essence of 10,000 bubbes concentrated in the building… the only thing they could have added was ‘Do you need to pee? Do you want a piece of fruit to take with you?’

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