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Common Jerusalem - Jerusalem of Communities

photos: Janusz Makuch

Jerusalem is a multi-layered city. Religious layers in many places are inseparable. Social layers resemble complexity of inter-human relations. Cultural layers show not only diversity of Jewish culture but also richness of the entire Middle East. Historical layers show that Jerusalem is a point reference for development and history of many, even remoted countries. Architectural layers are left by those, who were governing the city throughout the centuries.

During 27th Jewish Culture Festival we will try to refer to all of those layers and show that despite all those divisions, Jerusalem is one body. We will attempt to create a new image of Jerusalem, that would replace mythical one present in many people’s minds or at least will motivate to experience the city and to challenge its everyday life. 


Music is the best way to experience complexity of Jerusalem. Listening to its sounds and music created there makes you understand how diversified is the city. Musical program of the 27th festival will help you understand that: from the music of Ashkenazy Jews, klezmer music, you will hear the sounds of Sephardic or mizrahi music. You will listen to cantorial singing, jazz, world music, indie, rock to celectronica and DJ-sets. Concerts will take place in the Tempel Synagogue, Alchemia club, Barka, as well as – for the first time in Nowy Theatre and …. on the food market at Hala Grzegórzecka – Krakow version of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda.

Most awaited festival concert – culmination of each edition of the festival – Shalom on Szeroka Street – will sound with Jerusalem music for 7 hours, open-air in te heart of Kazimierz. During the concert you will also take part in Havdala, a ceremony to farewell Shabbat, which will be performed onstage.

Series of concert in the Tempel Synagogue will be inaugurated by an extraordinary performance with Klezmer Small StarsExtraordinary, because it will feature recognized klezmer musicians and … their pupils, who participated in festival klezmer workshops run by them during the past editions of the festival. In the evening on Sunday you will listen to Cantors’ Concert performed by the choir Kolot Min Hashamayim in memory of Shoshana Zilberstein OBM conducted by Raphael Bitton, accompanied by cantors: by Tzudik Greenwald, Berel Tzuker and Moshe Fishel . During the following days we will take you to various neighborhoods of Jerusalem: Veretski Pass (USA) will present klezmer music, Dudu Tassa (IL) – music of Iraqui Jews, Paul Shapiro (USA) – radical Jewish music inspired with Torah verses, and Neta Elkayam will invite you to the world of Moroccan Jews. Project Junun has been created by ISraeli musician Shy Ben Tzur and Indian musicians from Rajasthan Express. At the end, we will return to Kazimierz thanks to the songs performed by Leopold Kozłowski and his pupils.

Cheder will host club music by REO (IL) and will invite you to a Persian Night, prepared by  Menashe Sasson (member of Habrera Hativeet) and his friends, who will combine musical and culinary experience.

Nights in Alchemia club will be filled with music by Adi Ulmansky (IL) and Gili Yalo (IL) – musician of Ethiopian background, as well as by DJs from Poland and Israel invited by cult Tel Aviv’s  TEDER. They will also play Teder Weekender  one of the best summer parties in Krakow!

Nowy Theater – our new musical venue – will host Nitai Hershkovitz Trio (IL), and Ori Alboher (IL/DE) in a concert accompanied by visuals specially commissioned with Tobias Last.

Lectures, meetings and presentations

In the Center for Jewish Culture, from Monday, June 26th until Friday, June 30th, you will have a chance to encounter Jerusalem in a series of lectures but also learn more about Polish and Yiddish literature.

Dan Bahat, Israeli archaeologist will discuss various historical, social and cultural aspects of Jerusalem’s history and present, whereas Yossi Klein Halevi (IL) – author and participant in the six days war and Israeli Ambasador in Poland Anna Azari, will focus more on political issues.

Contemporary cultural and religious life in Jerusalem will be a subject of presentations by Naomi Bloch-Fortis – Director of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Rev. Paweł Trzopek – Polish Dominican from Jerusalem and Israeli musicologist Abigail Wood. Jerusalem Temple will be a man focus for Polish writer and painter Henryk Waniek (PL), Konstanty Gebert (PL) and thanks to Janusz Makuch (PL), founder of the festival, you will enter the Old City Jerusalem with all 9 gates…

As in the previous years, in cooperation with the Krakow Festival Office, we prepared a series of literary events with the debate about the Jerusalem syndrom as a main issue.

Being in Galicia, we cannot forget about Yiddish. Ireną Klepfisz, American Yiddish poet will discuss her works with Bożena Kefff. New published books will be presented by Moses Libitzky (USA) and Rabbi Michael Schudrich (USA).

Visual arts

There was never such an exhibition during the festival. Never presented photographs of Jerusalem from the collection of Dominican Ecole Biblique et Archeologique in Jerusalem, will be presented in the Dominican Monastery in Krakow. This exhibition, commissioned by the festival, is curated by Iza Wałek.

The Point of View is an attempt to describe Jerusalem by the photographs taken by its inhabitants. Unique presentation of this photographs will be available for the festival audience at the Center for Jewish Culture. One block away, in the gallery at 5 Skałeczna Street, we will give voice (or rather walls) to the youngest generation of Israeli graphic designers, who work with a La Culture artistic group.

photo: Bartosz Dittmar

Mi Polin (PL) – amazing designers duo from Poland, will give you a chance to write your own kvitlech that will be afterwards taken to the Kotel in Jerusalem. During workshops with them you will also create walls of Jerusalem – covered with the layers of posters that fight with each other about space and visibility.

Monika Krajewska (PL) in a series of art workshops will explore art in the Jerusalem Temple and sounds of the city will be a core of the multimedia project by Emmanuel Witzthum (IL).

Workshops and guided tours

Personal experience of Jewish world has always been a key issue for our festival. This is why workshops and guided tours are called by us a core of the festival. Workshops – because they enable to feel Jewish culture will all your senses and guide tours – because they explain and give you a unique experience of a space, in which Jewish life developed.

Jewish music in various aspects will be a theme for festival workshops. Neta Elkayam (IL) will teach you how Moroccan Jews sing, Jeff Warschauer (USA) will take you to a journey to the world of Yiddish songs whereas Deborah Strauss (USA) and Sanne Morricke (DE) will make you understand how to play klezmer music. Sabina Francuz (PL), who is a chief of Cheder, will teach you Jewish way of cooking and preparing food. During Open Meetings with Anna Dodziuk and Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (PL) you can discuss and explore your own identity and emotions. Workshops for children this year will be prepared by Anna Rozenfeld (PL),which means  they will be focused on Yiddishkeit. Agnieszka Wozowicz (PL) prepared an offer of city games for youngsters, and our volunteers – The Machers – designed a special series of workshops dedicated to senior citizens.

Anna Kiesell and Agnieszka Legutko (PL) during walking tours to be held every festival day, will help you to understand better life of the Jews in Kazimierz, Podgórze and in the Old Town of Krakow. During visits to the Jewish cemeteries in Kazimierz, you will learn about eminent Jewish Cracovians, who created our city but you will also learn more about the symbols placed on the Jewish tombstones. Łukasz Orbitowski, one of the most appreciated contemporary young writers and author of the novel about Kazimierz commissioned by the festival, native of Kazimierz, will present his childhood world during the tour designed especially for the festival. Katarzyna Zimmerer, an author of numerous books and publications about the life in ghetto will uncover ghetto reality during her presentation and our friends from the Architecture Institute will explore the border between Jewish and non-Jewish Krakow.

Let's celebrate Shabbat during the festival!

Shabbat is the most important of Jewish holidays and we would like to give the chance to celebrate and experience Shabbat during the festival. We will start this edition of the festival with the Shabbat breakfast in Cheder which will offer not only great food, family atmosphere but also great live DJ-set performed by TEDER team. In the evening you will also have a chance to bid farewell to Shabbat during Melave Malkah ceremony at the Tempel Synagogue, with participation of the cantors and choir.

Friday night at the festival you can start with pop-up Shabbat dinner prepared by Sabina Francuz. Last year it was held in an abandoned prayer house in Kazimierz – where will we invite you this year? Soon we will let you know! On the second festival Shabbat you can also have a holiday lunch with your children and relatives, accompanied by very important personalities, who will explain you why Shabbat is the most important of all Jewish holidays. And to conclude the festival – during Shalom on Szeroka Street concert you will witness Havdala – the ceremony to farewell Shabbat.

fot. Bartosz Ditttmar

What else can you expect at the festival?

During the festival we also commemorate all Krakow Jews, who were murdereed during the Holocaust. Zahor is a special ceremony  held at Ghetto Heroes’ Square.

For those, who speak mame-loshn, we prepared a Yiddish Vinkl – a series of informal meetings that will give you a chance to schmooze in Yiddish with Anna Rozenfeld and Agnieszka Legutko. This amazing Yiddish team will also take you on a guided tour to Kazimierz, in Yiddish of course, during which you will see and visit places important for the development of Yiddishkeit here in the Jewish quarter of Krakow.

All the above described events (and some more…) constitute the main program of the festival, that gives you a chance to explore Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.

Thanks to very intense cooperation with the JCC Krakow, Galicia Jewish Museum and Beit Kraków, the festival shows also what is important for our local Jewish community in Krakow and in Poland.

More than 100 accompanying events makes our festival a unique presentation of a complete Jewish world, including also reborn Polish Jewish community.

fot. Bartosz Dittmar

Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow embraces the entire Jewish world. Just like Jerusalem.

Detailed program of the 27th edition of the Jewish Culture Festival will be presented on our website in a course of April. Tickets to the festival concerts will be available in a pre-sale on our website from May 4th, 2017.

And if you have any questions, send them to us per e-mail. All current information about our activities could be found at festival’s Facebook.

See you soon in Kazimierz!


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