Mati Pavlack, a rabbinic student studying at Yeshiva University, returned to Poland for Pesach to help the local population prepare and celebrate the holiday. Mati Pavlak is one of two young Jewish men from Poland who came to the U.S. to study for the rabbinate with the hopes of becoming full-time rabbis in their homeland. Mati Pavlack hopes to receive his ordination in the coming year. Mati Kos, the other Polish rabbinic student, was recently ordained at the Ohr Sameach Yeshiva in Monsey.
For many years, professionally produced Jewish educational material for Polish Jews has been scarce. It has only been since the fall of the Communist regime that the Jews have been able to practice Judaism openly and freely. Four years ago the community, with the help of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, published the first Haggadah Shel Pesach since the Shoah exclusively for Polish Jews. Along with the traditional text and Polish translation there is a well-thought out commentary and guide to the laws of Pesach written by Rabbi Sacha Pecaric. Rabbi Pecaric had worked for the Lauder Foundation in Krakow, where he produced much of the Jewish educational material used by the various Jewish communities in Poland. The material includes a set of Chumashim, a guide to learning the Talmud, a book on the 613 commandments, a Zimiron for Shabbat and festivals as well as other much needed practical items. Before the Shoah it was rare to find Jewish books translated into Polish, as Hebrew or Yiddish was the language of most of the Jews, but today there is a need for Polish translation, commentaries and even transliteration.
Polish groups are developing a tourism route tracing the country’s Orthodox Jewish past. The Institute for the Preservation of Jewish Culture and the Carpathia Institute are developing the project, according to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. The trip will pass through towns that were centers of chasidic Judaism. Plans are to extend the trail into Ukraine and perhaps other countries.
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