|Was it a reunion? No! -
Was it a conference? No! - Was it a party? No! It was the Steinitz Family Meeting and it
was all of that.
First we all met at my mother's place. Almost half of the 42 guests were new acquaintances to me. Astonishingly, we started to talk to each other and to like each other right away. Was it the 'voice of the blood' or is it that Steinitz's are simply nice people? Anyway, the atmosphere was all warm and familial, no matter which corner of the earth people came from.
After a tea or two our convoy of ten cars moved on to the hotel SEEIDYLL in Groß Köris which proved an appropriate background for this truly historical event.
Since we had the hotel almost for ourselves we could choose between the garden (overlooking the nearby lake), a conference room (with one huge table), and a restaurant room for our discussions, meals and informal gatherings. This turned out a bit difficult: the Israelis were tired of the sun and the heat while the Danish were craving for summery weather. We compromised by moving back and forth all the time.
The discussions were lively, controversial and most of the time riveting. The topics emerged seamlessly and comprised the Jewishness of participants, the very diverse biographies of our forefathers (and mothers), as well as stories from the treasury of family history. To improve and complete the Family History, data, documents and photos were exchanged. Every generation added to the meeting in their way.
On Saturday night a Klezmer band gave our gathering a cultural twist and made everybody sing and dance along. Such was the mood that we hardly managed to go to bed at all.
When the meeting was over we found it hard to separate. Having gone back with most of the guests to our different places in Berlin some family magnetism seemed to reunite us again and again. Some of us met for a walk about the former Jewish quarter of Berlin, for a folk concert at the Kulturbrauerei, for an evening of talks and pictures at home.
Finally, everybody agreed that the only way to overcome the longing, to continue this overwhelming experience was: "Next year in Jerusalem!"