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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Janusz Makuch’

Krakow Jewish Festival

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow is one of the most important and largest events of its kind in the world. The first one took place in 1988 and its program focused on a scholarly conference on the encounter between two cultures, Jewish and Polish. It was a modest occasion but it turned out to have enormous significance, considering the boldness of the subject matter, upon which the communist authorities of the day looked askance.


This year’s 18th Annual Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow was a resounding success with a record number of people in attendance.


The festival was a conglomerate of Jewish music, art, literature, dance, traditional cooking, and tours of the area synagogues and cemeteries. Some of the performers at the festival included Chazan Benzion Miller, who has been participating in the opening concerts for so many years, that his absence would change the very nature of the festival.



Many thousands listened to the final concert of the festival in Krakow



While the festival usually focuses on contemporary Jewish culture, this year there were a lot of exhibits that focused on pre-Shoah culture. Jewish artists in Krakow between 1873-1939 and Unpainted Jew – XIX-century woodcuts from the collection of Alicja Schottlas were just two of the many beautiful exhibits. 


The festival was also the setting for the ceremony, organized by the Museum of History of Polish Jews, of honoring Poles who have helped preserve Jewish memory in Poland.


While most of the festival is secular there was also a very strong religious content. The traditional Melaveh Malkah was very-well attended and the opening chazzanut concert on Sunday night that included Itzchak Meir Helfgot; Azi Schwartz; and Benzion Miller, accompanied by Daniel Gildar; Neimah Cantors’ Choir; and conducted by Marc Temerlies, played to a standing-room only crowd. Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Boaz Pash, gave a lecture in basic Judaism, while Hanna Kossowska covered the topic of Jewish cooking, and Chazan Miller taught chassidic songs.



Janusz Makuch, director of the festival



Being the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence there were also many events reminding one of the Polish roots of Zionism. The Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Yossie Peleg, gave a number of lectures and circulated among the crowd spreading the word that, while Poland was once the home of world Judaism, today after the Shoah, the center of the Jewish world has moved to Israel, but Poland will always be remembered for its past role.


The goal of the festival has been to show that the Jewish people have been an integral part of the Polish nation for nearly a millennium, especially in the ancient capital of Krakow. There have been good times and bad, but for the most part, Judaism was able to develop more freely in Poland than any other European country. Since the Shoah, and the destruction of the Jewish community, both Poles and Jews have forgotten the close ties built over the centuries. The festival hopes to rebuild those ties.


“Another edition of the Festival is now part of history,” explained Festival Director, Janusz Makuch. But as we hope – it will remain forever in your memory and your hearts. We would like to extend our thanks to our sponsors and donors, as well as media patrons – without them we would not be able to organize our festival! A shaynem dank!”

Jewish Culture Festival In Krakow

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

   The 17th Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow just concluded and has lived up to the promise of being one of the most exciting Jewish festivals around the globe.


         This year there were a few new stars taking center stage, most notably the famous Jewish singer/actor, Theodore Bikel. 


         Chazan Benzion Miller gave a rousing performance in the town of Bobowa, home of the Bobover Chassidim.


         On Shabbat the kosher Eden Hotel, in the heart of Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, played host to more than 50 people, with delicious traditional food, like gefilte fish and cholent. The hotel was also host to a post-festival banquet that lasted till 3 o’clock in the morning.


         The most famous feature of the festival was the music, but there were also many classes in Jewish subjects. There was kosher cooking, Jewish song/dance, paper cutting, art motifs, Hebrew/Yiddish and many other topics.


          Festival Director, Janusz Makuch, deserves a Yashar Koach for the monumental job he did in transforming the streets of Krakow into a scene of Jewish pride and culture.



Rabbi Michael Schudrich and Rabbi Gluck making Havdalah for thousands at The Festival on live Polish TV.




Chazan Benzion Miller performing during the final concert in front of the Old Synagogue in Krakow.




Theodore Bikel on stage at the festival.




Janusz Makuch, backstage, at the festival.




Some of the 20,000 people in front of the festival stage.




Children learning to incorporate Jewish designs in their artwork.



Foundation Stone Set For Museum of Jewish History In Poland


         It has been almost 15 years since the conception of the idea for a museum of 1,000 years of Jewish history in Poland, but the dream took a great jump forward last week, with a gathering of museum supporters from around the world.


         Representing Poland, the Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, called for a reconciliation between Jews and Poles, suggesting the museum be used as a catalyst in forging new ties.


         David Peleg, the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, reads a letter from Israel President-Elect Shimon Perez, a long time friend and honorary officer of the project.


         Rabbi Lau of Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor, born in Poland, spoke passionately and eloquently of how the museum will be a place where Jews and Poles will have the opportunity to learn that the history of the Jews in Poland was more then just the five years of the Shoah. The Jews were an integral part of Polish society, involved in the arts, economics, and even politics.





Rabbi Michael Schudrich of Poland with Rabbi Lau of Israel at the Foundation Stone Ceremony.




Dignitaries line up to sign Scroll of Honor. Included in the group are Marion Turski, President Lech Kacynski, Jerzy Halbersztadt, Sigmund Rolat and Tad Taube.




President Lech Kacynski and Jerzy Halbersztadt on the way to bury the Scroll of Honor in the foundation.





Some of the hundreds of people that braved the pouring rain to attend the Placing of the Foundation Stone.





Shmuel Ben Eliezer signing the Scroll of Honor.





Sigmund Rolat of N.Y. receiving a certificate in recognition of his strong support of the Museum.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/jewish-culture-festival-in-krakow/2007/07/04/

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