Jewish Journal


July 8, 2012

Journal of Volunteer. Festival of Jewish Culture in Krakow 2.07.2012



During the day, each volunteer is on a 3-hour call duty. This is when they are to be most available within the Festival Office.There are three golden rules that apply to this responsibility: first of all a clear mind. Secondly, a turned on mobile phone. And, last but not least, 10 precious minutes in which we have to appear in the appointed place and perform the appointed task.

A volunteer is called in the event of emergency situations that occur during the festival. This became very true for me – around 11 a.m. I was called out by Paweł Kowalewski, the supervisor of all volunteers, to perform a task. It was a “bike tour” aimed at collecting programmes for the evening concert of David Krakauer. Taking advantage of an hour-long break, I ate a fast lunch and afterward I attended a workshop of Jewish Art. Its coordinator, Monika Krajewska, explained precisely what the prohibition of depicting people in Judaism looks like through the ages.

Unusual ways of bypassing the fundamental law of the 2nd commandment, which is the substantial base for the ban, are offered in the examples of mosaics in the ancient synagogues of Asia Minor and few preserved wooden synagogues in Europe. The participants could personally carry out some symbolic artistic representations and thus stand at the verge of God’s law.

And speaking of the verge—I think that on Monday I found myself in a “breaking point”. Before the evening concert, I decided to return to my apartment to refresh a bit and once I opened the door I saw sea of water. For a moment I felt like the biblical Noah but without the Arc. It was a flood. Its reason was, however, really trivial and hidden in the thirty-centimetre hose which connects the toilet with the water supply. As it usually happens—strangers were victims in this situation as well. Since water is an element that seeps and travels, in this particular case – two floors down, the help of “flooded” neighbour with a kind heart also happens to be priceless. It was mainly due to him that I managed to regain control over the situation. First, I dried the floor where the belongings of five students were and then, fast like a bolt, I left for the “missing link”,namely the magic hose.

This is how my prospects on 4-hour long rest turned immediately into a tireless struggle with the element which was under control only 30 minutes before the preparations for the Bester Quartet & Tomasz Ziętek concert began. On my way to Kazimierz district I received a call from the Office. The task was to pick up the musicians from the railway station. It turned out, however, that it was not necessary so I was able to stay at my place and relax with the sounds of wonderful music. Everyone found the concert of the clarinet virtuoso and composer David Krakauer to be the main event of the evening. He is a unique person permanently connected with the Festival and celebrating his 20th anniversary of participating. He was accompanied by the magnificent Sinfonietta Cracovia and conducted by Robert Kabara. As I stood by the main entrance for the artists I could watch them all more closely and controlling the lighting area I contributed much to the safety of the most important guests of the evening. And this is not irony. Music soothes manners and also helps with stress—and after my afternoon, I could use a little music.

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