Posted Dana Hadadi Israel/Europe
If you are humanistic (which Judaism in my opinion is), naturally you’ll be startled when someone makes a racist remark. Assigning certain characteristics with ethnicity is not cool. It makes you wonder what if this person wouldn’t agree with elements in MY personality.
People that we love are people that love unconditionally, that accept us with our faults. This is why taking the side of the weaker link in society is fashionable in some circles. For a time Jews served that image. Being persecuted can make you attractive. It could be that our time has come now to be the supporters for other discriminated minority groups, as an act of strength.
RUSHESרעשס festival will carry this humanistic flavor into action by bringing diversity of Jewish voices to Israel in the course of our most critical festival: Purim.
Purim shpiel was always serving a satirical vehicle in our heritage, providing the opportunity to respond to anti-Semitism. The liminal nature of Purim gives us the confidence to ignore the rules, to poke fun and to criticize social structures and norms; Yeshivah students lampoon their Rabbis, communities send up their leaders- Without this annual societal reality check- tensions are ratcheted up without a mechanism to resolve them and become violence.
The first Jewish humor festival in Israel will open its doors in March 2013 and it will promote Jewish culture on its attractive side. We posses grand rich culture of self clever and on the edge humor and we treasured it now into a spectacular collection.
We cannot wait to share it with you and the rest of the world.
Putting it in Israel- the melting pot of contradiction, we wish it will contribute to open access nature of what we want to create- a merge of progressivism with tradition.
But we cannot do it alone. We depend on the generous support of sponsors, donors and partners to continue our work. Take out theoretical debates on human rights into creation and entertainment.
Everyone who takes part as a participant or an audience is a benefactor of this festival.
If you are interested more in our cause, and would like to know in what way you could help to RUSHES רעשס project we are always looking for volunteers, more artists and ideas.
Write your questions to Dana on this email: email@example.com.
See you next year in Jerusalem
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11.3.13 at 9:40 am | As Henry Ford put it, coming together is a. . .
11.1.13 at 10:54 am | The Museum of the History of Polish Jews was. . .
7.25.12 at 12:48 pm | Unfulfilled murderers, domestic sadists – nice. . . (40)
1.15.13 at 12:54 pm | The biggest (and probably the most splendid as. . . (32)
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March 21, 2012 | 4:30 pm
Posted Pavel Pustelnik, Cardiff
‘I was killing because Jews are killing in Palestine’ said the French murder about the killing spree in Toulouse. Peculiar idea about justice isn’t it?
Lack of tolerance towards Jewish people in Europe has been expressed in many different ways. There have been articles about how Israel is unjustly treating Palestine, there were unpleasant situations encountered by local communities… Nevertheless, the situation that took place recently in France has shocked everyone. The murderer has allegedly been trained by al-Quaeda, but this does not really matter. His motivation grounded on a wicked idea what is just or not is simply beyond my comprehension.
It opens eyes to a question: how do we perceive justice? What is justice for us? Is it just a simple equation ‘an eye for an eye’ – you kill our people, we will kill yours? It appears that for the fundamentalists the behavior of this kind is acceptable or even praiseworthy. For them justice is like an instant soup. You can do it yourself, bearing barely any costs, it does not take much time and you can be sure of the results. After all you are the one who decides on the trail’s outcome.
When I hear that the Jewish organizations and elites are over engaged in human rights and quest for justice I cannot understand what is meant by that.Presumably, Israel is not ‘clean’ enough to be a prophetic voice advocating for the rights and righteousness. This kind of thinking based on false premises is surprisingly widespread and vicious. What is more it is increasingly disconnected from the reality. Justice goes beyond securing own interests and having the rule over the discourse. Or at least it should be so.
March 21, 2012 | 6:27 am
Posted Dana Addadi Israel/ Europe
“The hard part is to start, but once you get it going it really flows”, says Masha Vasileva from her dormitory room in Berlin. “I get the ideas everywhere. I don’t know what will inspire me next”. “I can work on a piece for some days or weeks, until I feel that I like it.” “I don’t necessarily except all my costumers to like all of my articles, and this is why I keep a diverse collection to approach many people. Yet, still I have my style, maybe it wouldn’t be the most popular in Bulgaria, where I come from, but here now in Berlin, were people are more open-minded and ready to experience new things, I hope to gradually gain more recognition”.
“I first started making Jewels when I was a teenager. My first acquaintance with the many things you could do with clay was in fact in a Summer Jewish camp, where we had an art work-shop. Later on, I became a madricha on those camps, and a conductor of those art work-shops. I consider Jewish Summer camps to be a significant turning point in my youth. It was fun, and I hold great good memories from this time when I was introduced first to my Jewish identity and also I met people and culture from all over the world”.
“There’s a great deal of influence to my work from my Jewish culture and identity. I wouldn’t call my art Judaica, but it will definitely carry major symbols of our heritage, as they are part of who I am”.
“For the future, I would love to further develop my art, and take it to explore new materials other then clay, but that will require more money and skills.
I sell my Jewels on my site. It is possible to browse the pictures and choose the item you wish to buy, but I also design about orders”.
March 20, 2012 | 3:25 pm
Posted Estera Schreibmann Poland
About 50 people - youngsters, activists, leaders, students and on top of that Jewish, gathered for five days in Warsaw. What for? To discuss, to bond, to see bigger picture. Why? An answer is simple - its all about Jewish continuity. Once again Sochnut (Jewish Agency for Israel) is there for us. This time to strengthen the Diaspora in Central Eastern Europe. And as it appeared there are many things to be done to achieve it. What happened during these couple of days? What made us laugh and what made us cry? Why we are so different and similar all together?
First of all as participant of project called ‘MinYaNim’ I must say - I loved it. Many unexpected things happened during the seminar, the meeting itself was very intensive and rich in information, discussions and activities which were led using different methodologies - most of it according to my beloved “learning by doing” rule. Food was also fine. Weather was not.
- I am here with you guys about two days by now and I feel like it would be two weeks - said one of participants during reflection session. Half way till the end of project we were all tired, stimulated intellectually (meaning also: full of concerns, raising questions all the time - pretty much our job was to avoid silence as much as we could) and having a lot of fun. Together.
Bulgarians, Serbians, Israelis, Poles, Hungarians, Ukrainians and one Bosnian speaking same language. Language of friendship. - All in all, my impressions of the seminar are overwhelming. I would have never thought I would meet so many lovely and open people. Also I have never thought that I could grow attached to many of them in such a short period of time – said after seminar Kristof, 25 years old, student from Hungary.
Take of the mask, put on the mask
The part of our program leaded by specialists from Makom and Israeli Cultural Institute in Budapest partially focused on Purim holiday which we had an opportunity to celebrate together. We were at synagogue, we had our party, we made pretty cool masks or make-ups. Everything according to the tradition and for those who lead orthodox way of life - also religion. But actually we did more than that.
- We can interpret a story of Esther’s life in many ways. During our seminar we tried more secular ways of interpretation. Esther took responsibility for her nation, she did anything to preserve her people and in the same time she was hiding her identity. This duality was, aside of discussion about collective responsibility, a reason to ask ourselves two questions:
How Jewish I feel? How we are connected to our Jewish community and what can we do to make it better?– said Jan, 25 years old, an orthodox Jew from Poland during our conversation held after Warsaw meeting.
I am a Jew
It was amazing for me to answer those questions. Actually I did understand exactly where am I in my identity journey. A while ago I ceased to move forward. I was sure I am able to avoid to choose between my Polish life and my Jewish life.I have stopped just before a place where I would be able to make public statement about me being a Jew, in a place where we would have the very uncomfortable talk among my family members.
I took off the mask and understood it is all actually about them. And I was not alone with my impression. That was other incredible thing.
Here the same
- I am taking part in Jewish life in Poland since always, so it was not first time, when I met other young Jews. New thing for me was they were from countries I do not know at all.
Even If we look different, we have a lot in common. I found out, the thing I called “Jewish thing” exists not only in Poland but everywhere. It means when you meet someone who is Jewish too, rapidly both of you feel how similar you are. After two days I already knew I found friendships that will last longer than till our last seminar planned to be in Israel – said Patrycja from my group when I asked what surprised her most during the seminar.
- Honestly, my knowledge was very little about the European Jewish communities outside Hungary. Of course, by knowing the facts and the common history of the region, it is not so shocking that our stories are similar. Deriving from this, it is understandable, but for me it was surprising how similar we are in how we think, how we look at life – wrote to me Kristof.
Actually I was always suspicious about this idea of “Jewish thing”. By my experience in Warsaw Jewish community after some incidents I started to think totally opposite. I have nothing in common with those people – I was pretty sure about it. We have same heritage and very similar stories of what happened to us during Second World War or in 1968. But that is it. Is it?
I was so shocked how quickly I have changed my mind – from small details like setting waking up alarm at the same exact time (7.35 – what are the odds?) through talking about same things in our own languages and than finding out about it to an actual mind reading, saying things in the same time, even liking the same things from the same reasons. I have met people who are not only like me in the matter of favorite colors or music. I have met people who think and feel exactly like I do and I am sure of it.
- The similarity of the stories was surprising. For me, this proves, that a universal human intellect exists, which drives us to react to certain things (in this case mostly trauma) in the same way, regardless to where we live – said precisely what I was thinking about the seminar one of Hungarian MinYanim group members. Only I add up one word: ‘universal Jewish intellect’.
Story one of its kind yet one of many others
My friend Patrycja who is also participating project with found something very unexpected during Warsaw seminar. First of all I feel it is important to mention that we also went together for Birthright Taglit. We were together in a small group where we spoke about our identity. Night before our very first visit in Yad Vashem. I was hearing to Patrycja’s story about her grandfather who was eager to talk to her about Jewish identity. But back than Patrycja was not interested. And with other silent in that matter members of family she has no one to talk to. Just like me.
So imagine dear reader, that in an exercise where we have to choose random person and tell our Jewish story Patrycja have chosen to speak to Emil from Bulgaria. During the conversation they will mention their grandfathers…
-The most surprising for me was that I found someone who has at home video tape called “Survivors of the Shoah”. Mine and his grandfather was interviewed there. It would not be that surprising if not the fact, we both have not seen the recording yet. We promised each other we will watch them together next time – said my friend who thanks to that has made another step in her identity journey.
All the problems we have
But let’s talk what are we here for. The score is to strengthen the Diaspora. To solve problems we have. But how am I supposed to change the situation? Only eight people from my country (Poland is taking part in MinYanim second time in its third edition) have any power to change the Jewish life in here?
I felt it is overwhelming task. That we may be able to change some small parts and than one should pray that it will last longer than one year. I was so worried I did not notice that changes were done since the very first meeting of Polish group. I found myself in a group with people to whom, I am referring to most of them, I would never speak on my own. And once I started I just could not shut up.
Third generation problem? Division among organizations? Siege mentality? So called wall for newcomers in Jewish society? Those are only few issues that slower as down in rebuilding Jewish life in Poland - and thanks to Warsaw meeting we started to see how we can help it. And I mean it.
In the other hand it was again shocking to understand that Bulgaria and Serbia have same problems. What I knew about Jews is Bosnia or Serbia before? Nothing. And now they are my brothers who share same struggle. I understood that Hungary is step ahead of us in rebuilding community after war but Jews are still coping with division issues.
And that Israel also needs us.I will answer those needs – I will help my Israeli friends to implement “Picking up – neighbor project” in southern parts of Eretz. Something I did in my country and it works.
Fast forward to May
This is only a glimpse of what happened in early days of March in Warsaw. Fifty people - their stories, thoughts and energy. Positive energy. I miss them all. The truth is that I just cannot wait to meet my new friends.
So with high hopes in my heart and still little bit in shocked after what happened during Warsaw seminar I say: please fast forward to 8 of May, where we all are going to meet again in Budapest.
March 18, 2012 | 3:56 pm
Posted Ewa Popowska
69 years ago six thousands of Jews living in Ghetto of Krakow in Podgórze were displaced to a work camp in Płaszów. For many of them this four kilometres distance turn out to be a walk to death. Other 2 thousands of inhabitants of Ghetto were sent to Auschwitz. A thousand of the others were shot in the place of Ghetto Heroes Square, where today the Remembrance March was started, to commemorate those, who went the same way the 13th and 14th March 1944 during the liquidation of Ghetto.
Propably never could we find the definition of Holocaust and define the reasons why did it ever happen - said Tadeusz Jakubowicz, president of Jewish Community of Krakow - but I am happy to see how many people come here every year. Jakubowicz went this way 69 years ago with his mother. In the meeting participated primar Rabbi of Krakow Boaz Pash, Rabbi of Chabad Eliezer Gurari and Member of European Parliament Róża Thun. Ambassador of Israel Zvi Rav-Ner reminded of the importance of fighting against the injustice and anti-Semitism - Some people claim that it never happen. Let’s not forget those who died here and in Płaszów, and those who were trying to help them. Among the people gathered on the Square was also prime Rabbi of Galizia Edgar Gluck, vice governor of the Małopolskie Province Andrzej Harężlak and a representative of young generation, Klaudia Klimek.
I came here as a president of Social Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, department Krakow not only as a representative of our organization but also to show that we young Jews in Krakow, remember and want to continue tradition of March. - says Klimek- We live now in different world, time that makes us easily forget about sad, hard history. But this one day makes us think, makes us stop for one moment and come here to this place and see not only bus station, flower shop or restaurant but as it looked like 69 years ago. Place of terrible pain, enormous fear. - she adds.
During the March, participants from Poland, Israel and United States put flowers under the remainings of the wall of Ghetto which was set by Nazis in 1941. On the area, where before war used to live 3 thousands of people, Ghetto gathered about 17 thousands of Jews. It was strictly forbidden to leave this place or to help its inhabitants anyhow. The ceremony ended with Kaddish, under the monument commemorating victims of Holocaust at the territory of working camp in Płaszów.
March 15, 2012 | 3:37 pm
Posted Przemek Dudek / Poland
Are you in your teens and fed up with the totally out-of-date offerings for young people provided by your community? Want to start a rock group with your Jewish friends from the block? Are you getting excited about the NEW TRENDS in music and want to be INVOLVED? If so, you are about 50 years too late, as this is the story of one special big beat group from Szczecin, Poland.
In the beginning of the 60s, Szczecin was still a city with a visible presence of Jews, it might not have been 30.000 people (making 40% of the city population), as in 1946, but still several thousand Jews were living in the city to which they came after World War II. Young Jews from that time were as fascinated with the new wave of Western music as their peers from around the world, so the idea to make a big beat group was only a logical consequence.
Mietek Klajman decided to start a band after coming from a summer camp where he met friends from Łódź who had already been performing. He quickly learned how to play six basic chords and was joined by Mietek Lisak, Sioma Zakalik, Józek Laufgas, Kuba Cirring and Olek Kauperberg (who provided the group with a self-made bass guitar). As any other rock band, the group came to the point of choosing a proper name and came up with “Następcy Tronów,” which was the Polish translation of the title of Masseli’s movie “I Delfini” and approximately means “heirs to the thrones”. The group was taken under the care of the Jewish Culture Club and provided with a place to practice in the Perec School, which came to be a bit problematic as the room in which they were practicing was equipped with a very expensive item – a tv-set and the risk of destroying it by young rebellious people was way too serious for the teaching body. The group, however, was given discreet supervision and proved themselves to be trustworthy.
The group was getting attention from audiences and even performed for 20,000 people during rock festivals. Their repertoire consisted both of covers like “you really got me” by the Kinks and their own songs, including the only saved recording - a protest song “Płacz wietnamskich dzieci” (Cry of the Vietnamese Children), which was supported by the Communist government aiming to criticize US politics and military actions. Formally part of the Youth Section of the Jewish Culture Club, the group also performed traditional Jewish songs, but their number was not high enough for the older members of the community.
Następcy Tronów had a good reception during festivals and concerts and might have been well recognized in Poland, but after 1968, when the repressions of the communist government targeted Jews, only two of the members stayed in Poland. Their friends however could listen to them once more in concert during a reunion for those who left Poland in 1968, however that is not the end of the story of their songs. In 2012, another Szczecin band covered their “Płacz Wietnamskich Dzieci” just changing it to the “Cry of the Afghani children”.
March 14, 2012 | 2:15 pm
Posted Ewa Popowska/ Poland
It was a long way to go from Kovel, in the deep east of pre-war Poland, to Madrit. Through Warsaw and Rome, from a closed Jewish society of his home village, to the reachest villas of Europe. He called himself a prince, change the personality and shaped the story of his life depending on the moment. The director Michał Waszyński, (Misza Waks, born in 1904), made a movie out of his life. This is an extraordinary story about a man who wanted to be someone else and became one.
Waszyński’s life may be separated to a three different periods, which were strongly connected with the particular place and situation where he was finding himself at very moment. Once he moved from Kovel to the capital of Poland in early twenties (hardly nothing in his case may be defined as concrete and sure), he broke up with his Jewish past, changed name into the Polish-like, and after gaining first job in the movie bussines bought a place in the fancy part of the city. He was working as an assistant for the best directors of Polish cinema and after few years he made his debut with a romance Pod banderą miłości (1929) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0907788/. In a short period Waszyński became a movie production machine, directing even seven titles per year, dedicating three weeks for each. That kind of acting of course had nothing to do with Art. Mocked and hated by the critics, Waszyński was beloved by the public, giving them all they wanted - an easy, genre cinema filled with the most famous stars.
Nevertheles, when noone of the enraged enemies of his did expect that he could direct anything valuable, Waszyński surprised all of them. In 1937 he produced Der Dibuk http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030092/, the only movie played inYiddish that lasted to our times in original condition from polish inter-war era. Unexpectedly, he turn back to his Jewish roots and created a masterpiece of cinema, which was the first movie in Yiddish that gained popularity with the Polish audience. This adaptation of an folklorist, Szymon An-ski’s drama, was deeply rooted in tradition of Jewish people living on the east side of Poland. Waszyński for the first time looked back to his childhood, which he spent among very religious family, in the village situated not far from the place, where the movie was set.
Until the beginning of the war, Michał Waszyński directed almost forty movies, most of which were lousy quality, today almost impossible in reception. In September 1939 he was making another movie in Lviv, from where he was sent to exile by Soviet Army to the deep East, where he joined the Army of general Anders. While filling the application formula he signed that he was a Polish catholic.
Was it the final goodbye with his real identity?
In 1946, in Rome, he realised his last movie, Wielka droga http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283145/, a paean for Władysław Anders and his army, with which he went to Iran, Irak (1942) and Palestine (1943). Film was cenzored in Poland until 1991, when finally had place its first premiere. In 1946 Waszyński married an Italian countess, Maria Dolores Tarantini, although his unconcealed homosexuality. Not long, the noble lady died, leaving her brand new husband with an enormous heritage, which included a collention of works of art and a pallace in Rome.
This way Waszyński entered the society of Italian aristocracy, where he presented himself as a Polish prince. Noone was aware of his past, he did not mention about his pre-war career nor Jewish roots even to the closest friends. What is more, Waszyński was creating many versions of his biography, depending of which circumstances he was at the time. A path to his past was demolished by nazists, who destroyed the world of his childhood but also by himself. Lies about his biography, inventing facts resulted with vanishing of the line beetween the reality and imagination.
Until his death in 1960 of heart attack, Waszyński assisted Orson Welles while making Otello (1952), was a co-producer of inter alia Roman Holiday http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046250/ (1953) dir. William Wyler, and The Fall of the Roman Empire http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058085/(1964) with Sophia Loren. He became a right hand of Spanish producer of Samuel Bronston in Madrit. Waszyński’s operations made Bronston Productions go bankrupt. His death took place three weeks before Bronston found out about the dramatic situation of his company and that all the alleged works of art, that Waszyński was buying for him, were cheap forgeries.
It was not the first time, when a Jewish person working in movie bussines created his own biography by lies and imagining stories. Erich von Stroheim (Sunset Blvd 1950 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043014/, La Grande Illusion http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028950/ 1937) added a prefix in his name suggesting that he is an aristocrat, as well as Joseph von Sterberg. Nonetheless, in those cases it was rather about creating their own legends, building an atmosphere of mystery, while lies of Waszyński were having a deeper dimension. Maybe the burden of the past, awareness of irreparability of the world where he spent his childhood were sufficient reasons to create a new one around him.
March 13, 2012 | 3:12 pm
Posted by Klaudia Klimek
The Jewish community in France is estimated of 483.500 ( in 2010 ) According to the Jewish Virtual Library - 500.000 According to the Appel Unifie Juif de France, they are found mainly in the Metropolitan Areas of Paris, Marseille, Strasbourg, Lyon, and Toulouse. So when you go to the local Limud, especially from Poland you expect thousands of participants, several lecture rooms, rented student dormitories- in a word, something like Limud in the UK.
I was a little scared by the fact that most of the lectures were to be in French and only one hour in English, which was a problem because I am not very good at French. But I was not only going to attend the lectures but also to promote Jewrnalism, meet the leaders of the French Jewish community and write an article about my experience. At 3 o`clock, on Friday, March the 2nd I got on a Limud bus , which took me to a hotel near Paris.
Entering the lobby with the rest of the guests we were greeted with applause and shouts of Limud staff. It was the first sign that French Limud will not be Limud in the UK. I was afraid that I will perish in the crowd and a nice atmosphere where everyone seems to be treated specially surprised me. It turned out that Limud was attended by approximately 500 people what also surprised me. The organization of the event seemed to be the perfect, lectures, interesting atmosphere were similar as in Poland. This became the subject of my inquiry between English-speaking lectures. I asked about the Jewish community in France and its future. To my surprise it turned out that the Jewish community in France is experiencing similar problems like this in Poland.
In Poland we have so few Jews, thus our programs and events do not seem as spectacular as they could. In France however, there are many French people, that are not interested much in what is happening in their Jewish communities, as if there was no life in them as well as so called Jewish spirit. How is this possible? Assimilation? I do not know maybe some voices from France will explain that in commentaries. Anyway I saw Limud in another dimension. There surely weren`t the people who have nothing to do at the weekend so they were coming to meet and promote themselves, but the future leaders of the French Jewish community, who came to look for inspiration and support.
Shawn Landres and Joshua Avedon from Jewish Jumpstart did not appeared on Limud without a reason, they simply see the future of Jewish life in Europe and try to show it to the Europeans as well as to Americans. Jewish Life in France needs a fresh breeze, the people who will lead the life of the community living there, new entrepreneurs with ideas and courage to prove that Europe can also be the future of this nation. Limud is the beginning, one of the elements but it also shows the power of the new leaders, a place where they can meet , and prove that you can get what you want. Limud in France is being held for about 3 years and every year it brings more success, it’s hard work of the new leaders like Sarah Benkemoun Simha and Ruth Ouazana, who believe in French Jews and the Europe. Hospitability of the leaders concerning people from abroad and taking care of every detail and well-being of each is admirable. I do not know if they realize their great role but I think they deserve great applause and a lot of support from the rest of the foreign organizations like the Jewish Jumpstart.Limud or Limoud ended on Sunday afternoon. All of us were taken to the center of Paris but we weren`t left alone. We spent our last evening in a truly French style.
Now I can only say after Edith Piaf- Limoud in France? - Non, je ne regrette pas rien.