Anniversary edition of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow was dedicated to the Quarter: Kazimierz quarter, as well as other Jewish quarters around the globe.

175 events in the main festival program, almost 30,000 guests from many coutries of the world, 168 artists, 64 volunteers, 123 accredited journalists and mora than 430 information in various media. This dry statistic, although very impressive, cannot express that great energy, which filled Kazimierz this year. Just as it has always been during the festival.

Quarter was our idea to celebrate the anniversary edition of the festival.

We decided to return to the sources of the festival – to Kazimierz, a Jewish quarter of Krakow. Without it there would be no festival. Let’s have a look back at the .25 festival.


A series of festival lectures was dedicated to Kazimierz and other Jewish quarters around the globe. Ruth Gruber (USA), Martin Pollack (AT), Monika Murzyn-Kupisz (PL), Meron Benvenisti (IL), Adam Schonberger (HU), Sam Norich(USA) and  Francesco Spagnolo (USA) presented historical, social and demographical contexts of Jewish quarters in Krakow, New York, Jerusalem, Venice, Budapest and in Galicia. Chris Silver (USA) in his series of sound lectures showed the musical heritage of the Jews from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Anna Azari, Israeli Ambassador in Poland spoke about the largest Jewish quarter in the world – about Israel. Her presentation aimed to fight with stereotypical perception of the Jewish State: many multimedia materials presented contemporary face of Israel.

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Especially for the festival we created a Festival Quarter, that was designed by BudCud company.
A complex of light pavillions housed Cheder Cafe, Reading Room, as well as Gelada Travel Agency. Festival guests but also and first of all – inhabitants of Kazimierz, could actively spend there their free time and participate in many cultural and educational events designed especially for that space.

In the evenings, the Quarter was filled with music. Concerts of young Israeli and Polish bands, DJ-parties with Polish and Israeli DJs was yet another attraction and reason to spend time in that unique and temporary festival space.


This was the title of the main festival exhibition. Photographs by Eugeniusz Wilczyk (PL) and Susanne Guzei-Taschner  (AT) presented Kazimierz in a very special moment, when it was loosing its Jewish identity and new inhabitants were trying to make it their home, struggling with difficult history of the quarter. The exhibition was organized in an empty apartment in the building owned by Jozef Bosak, who right after the war emigrated from Kazimierz, where they lived for centuries, to Israel. In this exhibition, a Jewish world of pre-war Kazimierz told by Jozef Bosak, post-war non-Jewish Kazimierz as seen on the photographs and contemporary Kazimierz seen through the windows of the apartment, became one united phenomenon for the time of the anniversary festival.


Anniversary character of the festival was best visible in the musical part of the festival. We invited bands and musicians, who were milestones in our 27 years long history: The Klezmatics (USA), La Mar Enfortuna(USA), Shlomo Bara & Habrera Hativeet (IL), Alte Zachen (PL), Frank London (USA) and David Krakauer (USA). There could be no anniversary without admired cantor Benzion Miller, who this time performed a recital of the most beautiful songs by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

But right next to them, in various festival venues, including Tempel Synagogue, Cheder Cafe, Alchemia club as well as Quarter FKŻ, our audience could listen to the sounds of contamporary Jewish music performed by those, who are and will be the future of Jewish music: Shai Tsabari Future Orchestra & Ahuva Ozeri (IL), Kutiman Orchestra (IL), Garden City Movement (IL), Lola Marsh (IL), Buttering Trio (IL), Bemet (IL), Beryozkele (PL). For many young festival participants, a DJ-party organized on the boat together with Teder pop-up bar from Tel Aviv, was definitely a highlight of this anniversary edition right next to the world-famous ‘Shalom on Szeroka Street’ concert, that presented a variety of Jewish. 20,000 people were listening to that 7-hours long live open-air set right in the very heart of the Jewish Quarter.


Despite music being the most visible part of the festival, educational program of workshops and guided tours has been a core of the festival for many years. We continued those known to our audiences from previous years, but also offered new ways to experience Jewish tradition, like for example challach baking workshops with Uri Scheft (IL) and Wojciech Smętek (PL) in the pre-war Jewish bakery owned by Joseph Baigel, that has recently become a cult place in Krakow called My Father’s Bakery.

New educational proposals included also vocal workshops with Shai Tsabari (IL), film workshops with Aleksander Prugar (PL) as well as Jewish hip-hop workshops with Vera Hannush (USA). Those, who wanted to explore and understand Kazimierz, could join a tour of synagogues and houses of prayers, or follow the footsteps of Jewish architects or along the trail of industrial architecture.


During the festival we discussed also other issues than only a quarter. Agnieszka Legutko and Anna Rozenfeld in a series of workshops and lectures presented variety and beauty of the world of Yiddish language and culture. Shana Penn, Joanna Lisek and Edyta Gawron discussed a role and emancipation of women in the Jewish world. Chava Karavan shared her admiration for art of Tadeusz Kantor, Michael Alpert drew a hbistory of JEwish music in the United States, and  Janusz Makuch – creator of the festival and its director – showed the musical evolution of the event. Richard Horovitz also met with the festival audience on the occcasion of the publication of his new autobiographical book in Polish.

Our partners created program of accompanying events. Most of them presented interests and creativity of young Jews from Krakow and Poland.

Anniversaey edition of this largest Jewish culture festival in the world was an attempt to summ up our achievements. We precisely described a place, time and space in which we are now – after 27years of existence and 25 editions of the festival. We also clearly marked starting point for our future editions.

Festival in numbers

total number of festival events
events in the main program
accompanying events
instructors, artists, lecturers
our audience
accredited journalists
media reports
viewership of the ‘Shalom on Szeroka Street’ concert on Polish TV
likes on Facebook
unique visits on the festival website
viewers of the ‘Shalom on Szeroka Street concert’ live strteaming
viewers of live streamings from the Tempel Synagogue
viewers of life streaming of the Teder Night

Festival Quarters in videos by Haim Y. Barbalat

Award of the Jewish Culture Festival

Annual Festival Award 'Voice of Joy and Deliverance' ceremony took place during Shalom on Szeroka Street concert. It was awarded to Lucyna and Daniel Schefter.


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