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Journal of Volunteer. Festival of Jewish Culture in Krakow 1.07.2012 Day 2

Katarzyna Odrzywołek

July 4, 2012 | 2:51 pm

On June 1st, I woke up in my quasi new apartment surrounded by boxes and luggage. I didn’t even think about unpacking because at 8:45AM I had to be ready and steady at the Jewish Culture Centre. Today I accompanied a group visiting Synagogues. On every street of Kazimierz there used to be at least one house of worship or a Synagogue. Some have been adapted into private apartments, but others hand survived the war – 4 out of 7 still fulfill their function today. Sunday service was a must, however the cool and peaceful church interior made me fall asleep. I was woken up by a strong sound of organ music heralding the end of the service. Quick reality check: iced coffee and a cold shower were just what the doctor ordered for this blistering heat. Onto the next events of Jewish Festival’s agenda. The lecture on Jewish Anti-zizonism held by Stanislaw Krajewski attracted quite an audience. Many important issues were discussed, turning the lecture into a fervent debate. Right after that I hurried for a book meeting with Joanna Olczak – Ronkier, author of memoirs about Janusz Korczak.

All volunteers were preparing themselves for the biggest event of the night: the Cantors’ Concert: Voice of Joy and Deliverance (Ps.118:15). It started at 7pm in Temple Synagogue. Every volunteer had their own task to take care of. Mine was to let in guests, take care of ticket inspection, give out programmes of the concert and also little souvenirs. Attendance was amazing even though there was a Euro Final game going on at the same time. Everyone has different priorities, but still it never hurts to kill two birds with one stone. Through secret channels, updates about the Euro games were passed on from one to another. When Italy was loosing to Spain outstanding choristers soared to unspeakable levels of synagogue, singing beautifully. After the concert I went to one of Kazimierz’s football’s fan zones in order to admire Spain victory and at the same time weeping just a little due to Italy’s crushing loss, my personal favourite team during Euro. I didn’t plan on being sad for the whole evening though, especially because I was about to go to Alchemia, where at midnight a great German band, Dirty Honkers, were playing. They sure did a great swing show,mixing it up with a modern pop-culture and contemporary beats and bassess that made everyone dance away. And with this optimistim, I ended a great and eventful day.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Jews visiting Central & Eastern Europe frequently come with stereotypes and prejudices about the region.  In particular, group heritage and education tours for young Jews...

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