Posted Katarzyna Odrzywołek
“Man exists as long as he is remembered by the others”
Eva Halina Olszewska
On Wednesday 02.11.2011 in one of the teaching rooms of the Galicia Jewish Museum we could see a multimedial presentation concerning the well-known and eminent both in Polish culture and science people of Jewish origin. The presentation consisted of photographs and short biographies of 19 famous personalities. Many books, documentaries, biographies and films were devoted to them to show that these people are still remembered and to confirm that they are an integral part of our history and heritage we should be proud of.
You can find among them
v Leopold Infeld-eminent physicist, the author of works on general relativity, field theory and electrodynamics.
v Henry Sawicka-communist activist, participant of the Warsaw Uprising and the first President of the Walka Młodych Association .
Brandstaetter v Roman poet-playwright, writer, translator and scholar of the Bible.
v Irena Krzywicka-feminist, writer, journalist and translator. Brave propagator of the conscious motherhood, contraception and sex education.
v Vera Gran-famous cabaret singe and a film actress.
v Joseph Sare-Polish architect and builder, second President of the City of Krakow and a deputy to the national parliament.
v Herman Diaman-Excellent diplomat , specialist in Polish-German relations. Particularly concerned on the issue of policy in these two countries. Throughout his life actively involved in the defense of civil rights and social equality.
v-chemist Tadeusz Estreicher university professor in Krakow and Freiburg. He measured the boiling and melting point of hydrogen chloride, and constructed a device for liquefying hydrogen.
v Ida Kmińska-the author of many dramas, a writer, a film director. As the first actress from Communist countries was nominated for an Oscar. She conducetd the Warsaw Jewish Theatre before the war in Warsaw and up to 1968 was strongly connected with it.
v Adolf Beck, one of the world’s first electroencephalographs, physician, philosopher. He found that the electrical activity of the animals is altered by impulses.
v Louis Zamenchof-doctor, ophthalmologist, founder of Esperanto, the international language. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1913
v Andrzej Munk-participant of the Warsaw Uprising, a famous Polish film director, a representative of Polish Film School.
v-lawyer Raphael Lemkin who formulated concept of “crime and barbarism.” .During the Nuremberg process was an adviser to Jackson, Chief Prosecutor on behalf of the United States. In the 70`s nominated for seven times to the Nobel Prize
v Wladyslaw Kopaliński-lexicographer, translator, editor. In Poland, known as the author of fundamental works of lexicographical and encyclopedic works.
v Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski- one of the most famous Polish poets, Army cadet soldier, member of Szare Szeregi , one of the representatives of the Columbus Generation.
v Jan Kiepura-famous opera singer and actor. The artist of world fame, appeared in twelve musicals in Poland and abroad.
v-writer Stanislaw Lem, philosopher, futurologist, the representative of Science Fiction literary mainstream science fiction. One of the most popular Polish writers in the world. His books have been translated into 41 languages. His name was given to the asteroid and the first Polish satellite.
Helena Rubinstein v-creator of one of the greatest empires the world’s beauty. Millionaire, connoissere art and beauty.
v Joseph Klotz- football player, the defender, the one who scored the first ever goal for the Polish national team.
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November 9, 2011 | 11:44 am
Posted Ian Shulman
- Mark, thank you so much once more for agreeing to give this short interview. What surprised me the most during my research was your involvement in numerous different projects and having lectures on numerous topics. Tell me more about it: how did you start, how do you manage it and what are the things among those which are the most important for you personally?
- I guess one reason why I’ve been involved in different projects during the past years is getting older, as I get more time to do it (smiles). Also I was never good in formal education, so when I started college in the early 70s to study theater, for me it was much more important actually to do theater. Most of what I have done was self-taught. I love teaching, I love engaging ideas. I always try to learn more. I like writing, I like having a lot of different jobs. What is very important for me is working with people. I want to help people look at themselves, to grow - whatever age they are, to examine themselves, to try to be the best person they can be. I find it in a Jewish context, but I think it’s universal as well.
- I see you have been involved in different things from young age. Was it always connected with Judaism?
- Not necessarily. Well, definitely I went to the direction of the 60s in terms of the music, in terms of the drugs, in terms of culture and lifestyle. I didn’t do anything “Jewishly” per se, but I always though that the part of me trying to strive to be a good person came from my Jewish roots. I got then more involved as I started teaching, I got the opportunity doing theater and Jewish education, I kind of weaved a bit into different worlds.
- Also I know that you give lectures on many very different topics. So do you have any rules or factors which determine the topic?
- No, I’m just talking on topics I am interested in. So, speaking about sex is good, but for example I wouldn’t speak about things I am not confident in or don’t have enough knowledge about. I draw my personal background; I’m trying to bring the ideas which are really important, and I’m pretty opened in my opinions.
- How do people usually perceive topics like the one we had today, meaning for example sexual topics, which can be perceived in different ways?
- Usually pretty open. I try to start with some humour at the beginning. It also depends if I work with younger ages or if I feel that people are anxious to get all the things right at the beginning: I’ve done such things where I give them markers and put a big piece of paper on the wall, and write things like ‘breasts’, ‘vagina’, ‘penis’, ‘sexual intercourse’, and get them write down any other words they know related to those things, just to get that all ‘out of the table’. Then I read it out loud and everyone laughs and giggles. I think that humour is extremely important for people and that’s something they want to hear.
- Do you feel that some topics of your lectures evoke a lot of interest and debates, while others are not that attractive for the audience?
- It’s a good question. I guess that for me as a teacher what I am looking for is the engagement of ideas, and I really strive that every session I do, no matter what the topic is, somehow goes into an individual - otherwise I waste your time. I don’t want to talk about something flat, two-dimensional; I really want to be living and breathing. No matter if something happened a thousand of three thousand years ago, or if it is a myth of legend, but if it doesn’t go into an individual, to something which makes meaning for me, then I feel as if I have wasted one or two hours.
- I know that you give a lot of lectures in Eastern and Central Europe. What is your personal connection to that region?
- I was offered to work in Eastern Europe so that to help in development by organization called JDC, Joint Distribution Committee, and they sent me to do a leadership training to a lot of places. It was not that much of doing tours, but more about working with a Jewish community here, to bring ideas, to help empower them, to run own communities in Eastern in Central Europe, to give them necessary skills, like public speaking, or giving them information about the past. So it just worked out work-wise, and I am fascinated and feel very comfortable in here. I don’t feel as comfortable in America where I am from. I feel very at ease in Europe.
Mark Lazar (57) is a Californian-born travelling lecturer currently based in Jerusalem with more then 35 years of experience in seminars and workshops on topics related to Jewish culture, ethics, history etc. He is also an active contributor to numerous different Jewish projects.
November 7, 2011 | 5:05 pm
Posted by Klaudia Klimek
November 3, 2011 | 4:44 pm
Posted Katarzyna Odrzywołek from Poland
On Saturday 22nd October at Jozefa Street 36 the meeting for children was held once again. The workshop was conducted in a nice atmosphere and professional way by Agnieszka Wozowicz and Sylwia Liszka. The subject of the meeting was the Jewish Holiday SUKKOT ( Feast of Tabernacles/ Święto Szałasów or Kutschki in Polish ).
A few minutes past noon peaceful and quiet Cheder opened its door to a group of smiling, noisy children who arrived there with their parents. The young visitors at once got interested in a tent placed on a low pedestal. While introducing the meeting Agnieszka used the popular method of brain storm and the kids learnt what the SUKKOT is, how it is built, what it is used for and what does it symbolize. The next stage was making the decorations, so the children reached for crayons, scissors , glue and coloured paper. The kids showed their artistic abilities making long paper chains and cut-outs or drawing the sheds. The last stage was putting decorations around and asking all participants inside.
The effect of the work could be honestly called the little work of art. In two hours` time the young, talented kids managed to construct and decorate a beautiful tent. The influence of such activities on the development of a young child is fundamental teaching him how to work in a group and in this way giving the basis for the future socialization .
The next meeting is going to be held during one of the most beautiful Jewish Holiday - CHANUKKA. Thus we would like welcome all the parents with their kids to Cheder on the Cracow`s Kazimierz.
November 3, 2011 | 2:45 pm
Posted Katarzyna Odrzywołek from Poland
On 20th October at 6p.m as a part of Jewish Film Meeting in the Jewish Culture Centre on Cracow`s Kazimierz, Meiselsa St the film about George Weidefeld was shown. Georg Weidenfeld, the one that survived the Holocaust - a German patriot, sionist, conneaussour of women and opera is also one of the most admired British publishers and an influential politician . Founding the Israel as well as re-uniting og Germany would not be possible without him.
The film was made in 2009, directed by Stephan Reichenberger, and the basis was written by Mathias Dopfner. They together managed to created a genial image of this incredible man. During the film George Weidenfeld is telling the story of his life to a long year friend, Mathias Dopfner. The way he does it awakes admiration and liking. The film is rich in retrospections, the heroes thoughts as well as in the comic moments. To prove the last one we can quote the journalist that asked him if anyone- apart of his mother - took care of him. Yes, was the answer. I had a nunny, she was a country whore and when my partents left she used to meet with her lover and closed me in my room.
We meet Georg Weidefeld during his journeys to London, New York, Tel Awiw, Vienn and Berlin. His stay in these town is rich in events - business talks, visits to opera, hotels, restaurants and meeting his friends. Watching the film gives you the feeling of intimacy and youn get more and more surprised while watching the film. You will understand why when you read questions below .
If you want to learn
1. What deals did he make with the nazi during his studies ?
2. Why is he a fan of Richard Wagner, the most antisemitic composer in the history of music?
3. How could organize last minute escape from Vienna and survive the Holocaust and what role a controversial Kurt Weldehim played in his life ?
4. What did he do in the BBC department of propaganda and information and why 25 million of Brits listened to him for 40 seconds ?
5. How did he make his fortune ?
6. What was he doing in Israel accompanying the first state`s Prime Minister Chaim Weizman ?
7. What does he do in the House of Lords ?
8. Why do the most important politicians come to his birhtday parties ?
9. How does he manage to find devoted enemies ?
10. What is his receipe for being young at the age of 90 ?
This is a really must-see film that will tell you the answer for all above questions, but still you would find it difficult to believe in what you have heard. The story behind the one of the most influential person in the world is a really surprising one.
Moreover, the film is made in an excellent, precise way. It is full of scenes from the world we do not know much about, enriched with opinions of the people for whom Weidenfeld is a symbol and example to follow - the man who brought to agreement of many and made the contemporary world look different.
Don`t waste yout time - see it !
The film was shown thanks to: Jewish Association CZULENT, TSKŻ Kraków, Jewish Motifs Film Festival
Katarzyna Odrzywołek for Jewrnalism Poland
November 2, 2011 | 8:35 pm
Posted Katarina Rudolph, Germany
Does something like the universal Jewish identity exist?
There are Jewish communities around the world and they definitely aren’t the same.
In the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for example, you can see four different kind of synagogues from different countries and different epochs. These synagogues, which are the part of the permanent exhibition, were constructed as smaller models of the four types of synagogues from the places where they had stood before. There are two European models: an Italian and a German (Ashkenazi) one and – on the first glimpse – two more unusual kind of synagogues: an Indian and a Suriname. Obviously these prayer houses vary a lot in architecture and use of colours, because they were highly influenced by the cultural environment in which they were built.. Each of them is really unique and beautiful, but they also have similar symbols such as David star or Menorot. This example shows the versatility of Jewish communities – the possibility to adopt to the environment without forgetting their own roots and traditions.
So when we think about Jewish identity, things that come to our minds, are first of all the Jewish symbols, traditions, prayers and really important ones : Jewish holidays. The Jewish calendar is full of feasts, which are either based on biblical stories (e.g. Pessach, Sukkot) or on Jewish historical events (e.g. Channuka). Each feast has developed special customs , so there are special prayers and sometimes even specific food and clothes.
The Jewish holidays are celebrated all over the world and even Jews, who consider themselves secular, are eager to follow some of the Jewish traditions and rituals. It is celebrating the feasts at the same time for the same reason, that creates a belonging-to-the-Jewish-people-feeling (This, in my opinion, is totally independent from, whether you believe in Jews are the chosen nation or not.).
Another point is, that Jews, who live in the Diaspora still learn and pray the same ancient (sometimes slightly renewed) Hebrew prayers. The Torah reminds the believers to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. So, even if Diaspora Jews never have set a feet to Israel, most of them feel a strong connection with the country and have the desire to visit it at least once in their lives.
The security fever is one more component for being a Jew – not necessarily in times of war – because Jewish communities all around the world often are required to have high safety systems. So it is quite usual to see security guards or policemen, video cameras and sometimes even detectors around synagogues, Jewish Museums or Jewish and Israeli institutions and organizations buildings.
Some Jewish communities are better connected to their (non-Jewish) surroundings and some of them are rather isolated. But most of the time they are quite well connected within their own circles. Isn´t it clear that these Jewish communities consider themselves part of a bigger, global community?
And how a small nation as the Jews could have survived over 2000 years in the Diaspora, (just being one of the minorities in the countries they lived in) if there didn`t exist something like a Jewish identity that is the same, wherever life brought them?
Statistics say that nowadays there are about 13.428.000 Jews living around the globe, from which over 57 per cent are living in the Diaspora. But every year thousands of Jews from all over the world decide to make Aliyah (to immigrate) to Israel.
So, even if the concept of a global Jewish identity might not be easy to grasp, it isn´t an utopia.