Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Poland -- Jewish life in Krakow article

Jonathan Ornstein and Staszek Krajewski at a discussion on Jewish identity in Poland at the Krakow JCC in 2010. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber). 

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

The Jerusalem Post ran a long article about Jewish life and experience in Krakow, focusing on the role and work of the new Jewish Community Center, which opened in 2008. The author, Israel Kasnett, asks the usual questions, and writes about many of the usual scenes, paradoxes and tropes. I'm glad though to see a generally positive spin in his description of what I have called the "new authenticities" in the city.
For many people, Jewish life cannot conceivably flourish in Krakow – a city so close in proximity to the Auschwitz and Plaszow concentration camps where more than a million people were murdered. To them, Krakow has simply become a stopover on the way to the camps, to see where Schindler’s List was filmed or to visit the graves of ancestors.

But 66 years after the war, and 22 years since the fall of communism, the question remains: Can Krakow’s Jewish community flourish once again? My recent visit to its Beit Chayil Jewish Community Center proved that today there exists more than just death and a Jewish past.
 Read full article HERE

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