Jewish Journal

Journal of Volunteer. Festival of Jewish Culture in Krakow 4-5.07.2012

Katarzyna Odrzywołek

July 11, 2012 | 3:07 am

5.07.2012 Day 6

My wake up process on the Thursday morning was too early and definitely too loud.

The municipal service, contrastingly, contributed to order and cleanliness of our beautiful city. “Sleeping beauty” Katarzyna sprang to her feet. Exactly at 10 o’clock I arrived at the Volunteers’ Centre. I need to confess that the 3rd Krakow gymnasium at Wąska street serves well not only during the school year - during the Festival every volunteer will find here something both for body and soul. A full jar of Nutella and fresh bread are featured and centered items. One can hide from heat here, talk to friends, and simply feel like they’re home.

I began the Thursday morning according to my tradition - assisting Mrs Monika Krajewska, the expert on tombstone symbolism. Before each such visit, I take an amplifying set responsible for the transmission and reception. That day, I decided to spend the on-call duty in the Volunteers’ Centre and that was a good decision as I was able to partake in “Volunteers’ Hell’s Kitchen”.

What can you do from the leftovers after the Israeli Cuisine workshop? We have 5 peppers, buckwheat groats, turmeric and great imagination of young women. One could only dream of hummus with pita, falafel or Israeli salad. I was quickly back in reality and I found on my plate a nice looking and smelling dish, just like at home. As my taste buds were rejoicing, a group of volunteers entered the Centre and praised Janusz Makuch. In Galicja Jewish Museum he answered the question “Why it is worth to be a heretic? - On not giving in to the History, that is why I am doing this (the Festival).”

Our mentor was allegedly at his best, he enchanted the audience and confirmed the volunteers in the belief that the things they are doing make sense. On the wave of the evening concert, he directed at us words of comfort and motivated us to the even bigger effort during the preparations for great Jewish Woodstock at Szeroka street. On Thursday evening I was responsible for securing the 2nd emergency gate during the concert of Mulakuż (Mikołaj Trzaska Ircha Quartet). Those fantastic musicians perform the experimental new Jewish music and I must confess that they are doing it great. When I was listening to the concert, lost in thoughts, an elderly lady suddenly entered the synagogue. As she did not have a ticket I had to ask her nicely but firmly to leave. The woman held my hand and said: “As a little girl, I lived with my parents at Miodowa street. In every moment possible I sneaked out of the house and peeped the praying Jews through this door. I loved doing it! I saw there familiar faces, I recognised children with whom I was often playing on the street. Now, I live in Vienna but every time I am in Kazimierz I enter Tempel and recall the still vivid childhood memories.” And that is true - one always wants to get back to Kazimierz. For me, as a historian, it is a separate city with a separate history and a still Jewish soul. The soul which, during the Festival, is located undoubtedly in the Tempel Synagogue. On Thursday evening, another great concert took place here - Paul Shapiro’s Ribs & Brikset Ravue (USA) - Essen. It was Cilla Owens who was acclaimed the queen of the evening. She amazed and bewildered the audience with her strong vocal and omnipresent charm and energy. The legs wanted to dance so together with friends we kept inventing new choreographies backstage. Almost two hours of the music featured were not enough, we wanted more! The concert’s continuation took place in Alchemia club which was ruled over by (attention!) the phenomenal Frank London. There are no words for describing what happened in the probably most famous club in Kazimierz…

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.




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

Read more.