27th Jewish Culture Festival was dedicated to Jerusalem

50 years after reunification of Jerusalem, we decided to dedicate JCF to this city. We aimed to show its history, today, complexity and beauty of Israel’s capital but above all, we wanted to give our audience a chance to explore and personally experience Jerusalem. To discover one’s own Jerusalem and Jerusalem for one own.

Promo video of the 27th JCF created by Studio Otwarte, Iggy Pacanowski, music: Dudu Tassa

Jerusalem has been an inspiration for and / or a theme of almost each of 212 festival's events.

Historical issues, social issues as well as cultural diversity were subjects of a series of lectures, that were held at the Center for Jewish Culture. It was inaugurated with the personal journey through the gates of Jerusalem by Janusz Makuch, festival’s director. Following lectures were presented by: prof. Dan Bahat (IL), Konstanty Gebert (PL), Naomi Bloch-Fortis (IL), Paweł Trzopek OP (PL), Abigail Wood (IL), Yossi Klein Halevi (IL), Stanisław Krajewski (PL), Katarzyna Zimmerer (PL), Eyal Rob (IL), and Emmanuel Witzthum (IL).

Literaty program has been a part of the festival for few years already. Prepared in close cooperation with the Krakow Festival Office, is a chance for our audience to meet well known and respected authors, like Wojciech Jagielski, Charles King, Paweł Smoleński, Marcin Gutowski, Irena Klepfisz. During 27th JCF we also held a discussion about Jerusalem syndrome, a walking tour of Kazimierz with Łukaszem Orbitowski, a writer born in this part of Krakow, as well as book binding workshops with Józef Rakoczy.

You can listen to the recordings of the festival lectures on our website. 


Music has become a trade mark of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. Concerts of the best quality, in many cases presented in Europe for the first time at our festival.

Musical program of 27th festival presented cultural diversity of Jerusalem.

Opening party of the festival was inspired by famous parties taking place at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market after closing time. Best Israeli DJs throw the party this time at the greatest food market of Krakow – Hala Grzegórzecka.

Tempel Synagogue is the main musical venue of the festival. This year it hosted: Kolot Min Hashamayim Choir (IL) conducted by  Rafael Bitton, accompanied by three eminent cantors: Tzudik Greenwald, Berel Tzuker and Moshe Fishel; three concerts of klezmer music performed by: Klezmer Small Stars (PL/UA/US), Veretski Pass (US) and Leopold Kozłowski (PL) with his students.

Paul Shapiro (US) in his recent project Shofarot Verses presented how Jewish tradition can be translated into jazz music; Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis (IL) played music of his fellow Jews from Baghdad; Neta Elkayam (IL) paid a tribute to Jewish singer from Morocco – Zohra Al Fassia, whereas Shye Ben Tzur (IL) together with Rajasthan Express in their project called Junun created amazing Israeli-Indian spirit.

New musical stage in Nowy Theatre hosted two festival projects: Time Groove by Nitai Hershkovits (IL) and commissioned by the festival project by Ori Alboher (IL/DE) and Kiritan Flux (DE), combining sensual music by Ori with images from Jerusalem on two huge screens by Kiritan.


Ethiopian Jewish music was presented by Gili Yalo (IL) in Alchemia Club, where one could also enjoy great performances by Adi Ulmansky (IL), Hynom (IL) and series of DJ-parties. Last festival concert, as tradition says, took place in festival’s club Cheder and featured an Israeli band REO.

Shalom on Szeroka Street concert: 7-hours long open-air presentation of Jewish music from Israel and the Diaspora was a culmination of the festival.

A special guest of the concert – The Sejny Youth Klezmer Orchestra – performed on this greatest stage of Jewish music next to Dudu Tassa, Neta Elkayam, Paul Shapiro, Gili Yalo and Junun. 

Videos from the Shalom on Szeroka Street concert courtesy of Polish Television TVP2
and National Cinematheque – Audiovisual Institute.

Especially for the 27th JCF, on the banks of the Vistula river, we created Jerusalem Boulevard: festival chill-out zone, space for education and multicultural experience. read more about the Jerusalem Boulevard

The Boulevard was a place for everyday DJ-sets by Polish, Israeli and German DJs with its culmination on Friday night during Teder Weekender: Krakow Meets Tel Aviv – the best summer party in town. DJ program was curated by Tel Aviv’s TEDER radio and pop-up bar.

This variety of Jewish music helped us not only to attract diversified audiences, but also presented how rich and colorful are the sounds of Jerusalem: from hazzanut, to klezmer, to Jewish music from various Diasporas, to the sounds of modern clubs and bars of West Jerusalem.

Sensing Jerusalem during 27th JCF

Jerusalem in Photographs is the title of an exhibition commissioned by the festival. It displays never-presented-before photographs of Jerusalem made in late 19th and 20th centuries, from the collection of Dominican Ecole Biblique et Archeologique. This exhibition was organized in the cloisters of the Dominican Monastery in Kraków and was curated by Iza Wałek.  more information about the exhibition

TaxiLink: Kraków – Jerusalem gave our audiences opportunity to take a drive in a real time through the streets of Jerusalem without leaving Krakow! Passengers of special car – equipped with many multimedia devices – could order a ride to any destination in Jerusalem, chat with the driver and see the city’s life.

Thanks to Kvitlech Box project, prepared together with MiPolin designers duo, one could leave kvitlech with prayer in a special box. After the festival all the kvitlech were taken to Kotel by Janusz Makuch and placed between the stones of the Western Wall together with Rabbi Boaz Pash.  see more

Series of musical and culinary events prepared in cooperation with the National Library of Israel gave our audience opportunity to taste, smell and listen to the sounds of Jerusalem.

Culinary workshops with Sabina Francuz and festive dinner in the Nowy Theatre presented Ashkenazi cuisine, whereas Cheder offered food of Persian Jews during the Persian Night  prepared by Menashe Sasson and his family. Cult Shabbat @ Cheder was also inspired this time by traditional dishes from Jerusalem.

Two more projects were commissioned by the festival especially for the Jerusalem edition. Jerusalem Soundscape was a series of four sound-installations prepared by Emmanuel Witzthum: on a Market Square one could hear Mahane Yehuda sounds; sounds of nature from En Kerem filled Karma garden in Kazimierz; cloisters of St. Catherine Church sounded with various prayers heard in Jerusalem and sounds of the Old Town could be heard in the courtyard of the Popper Synagogue.  more about the project

Tel Aviv – based artistic group LaCulture asked Israeli artists and designers to share his vision of the word “holiness’ – one of the words associated with Jerusalem. An exhibition Holiness, that was a result of this call, was on a display in the BB Gallery in Kazimierz.

Workshops for Seniors is a new project by our volunteers – The Machers. During the 27th festival they offered 5 events dedicated especially to senior citizens of Kazimierz and Kraków:  Israeli dance workshops with Kachol dance group, tour of Kazimierz led by the volunteers: Alicja Barć, Michał Jaczyński, Małgorzata Wolska, Jewish art workshops with Monika Krajewska, anti-discrimination workshops with Małgorzata Majewska and Maciej Bis as well as a special concert by Veretski Pass.

Among 75 volunteers from 10 countries, there was also a group of 5 senior-volunteers.

Jerusalem was also a main theme of other workshops offered during the festival: Jewish design workshops with MiPolin (PL), workshops for children with Anna Rozenfeld (PL), Open Meetings with Anna Dodziuk and Tanną Jakubowicz-Mount (PL),  Moroccan singing workshops  with Neta Elkayam and Amit Hai Cohen (IL), Yiddish singing workshops with Jeff Warschauer (US), as well as klezmer music workshops with Deborah Strauss (US) and Sanne Morricke (DE).

During workshops for youth, three short filme were made presenting stories related to Kazimierz. watch the films


Festival guided tours helped not only to know better Jewish Kazimierz and Jewish sites in the Old Town of Krakow, but also helped to trace similarities and connections between Kazimierz and Jerusalem.

As many festival participants said, the 27th edition of the Jewish Culture Festival was the most interesting and well organized edition of the festival in its almost 30 years of history.

As written by Łukasz Gazur, Editor in Chief  of the culture department of  Dziennik Polski: It was one of the best editions of the festival in terms of the programming. (…) It perfectly shows how the festival has changed throughout the years. From the event focused on a local Jewish tradition of Kazimierz, to the event that is giving a great view of contemporary Israeli culture. 

Statistics, impact

27th edition was widely presented and discussed in both Polish and international media.

Information about the festival could be found among others in Polish newspapers and magazines: Gazeta Wyborcza, Dziennik Polski, Gazeta Krakowska, Tygodnik Powszechny, Haarpers Bazaar, Twój Styl, Super Express, as well as in foreign madia: The Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Reuters.

Festival was also announced and reported by Polish Radio (local and nationwide) as well as by Polis Television, that recorded and broadcast fragments of the Shalom on Szeroka Street concert.

27th JCF in numbers

num ber of events of th 27th JCF
number of events in the main program
number of accompanying events
artists, instructors and lecturers
festival audience
accredited journalists
media information
viewers of live streaming of festival concert (website and Facebook)
viewers of Shalom on Szeroka broadcast in Polish Television
viewers of live streaming of Shalom on Szeroka at ninateka.pl
views of the festival website
likes on Facebook
plays of clips at YouTube
subscribers of festival YouTube channel
followers on Instagram

More information about 27th Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow

Photos: Bartosz Dittmar, Szymon Makuch, Michał Ramus


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