30th JCF | Fire | Report

125 events of the anniversary 30th edition of the Jewish Culture Festival were focused on Fire. We presented fire's inspiring power and its ability to unite people.

Fire is one of the four core elements which emerged in the act of world creation. God created light as the first and, having seen that it was good, He separated it from the darkness.

Fire – Light – Flame – Radiance play a significant role in Judaism. And in our everyday lives. As long as we are kindled with the fire of passion and love, we are alive.

We, the Festival people are connected together by the fire of mutual fascination for the world of the Jewish culture and fascination with it. This is the culture as vivid and changeable as the fire which spawned it.

When we talk about fire in the context of the Jewish culture, for some this may be a painful connotation – the fire of the Holocaust. Yet, the cold fire of the Holocaust dies down in the ashes. The fire of love never fades and lightens up the life.

All the civilizations which claimed the right to eternity fell down and passed away. The Jewish civilization survived. And it lives on. It is like “ner tamid” – the fire which burns, but it does not burn down; it is an eternal light which reflects good and evil, wisdom and stupidity.

Our Festival exists thanks to Light: for more than 30 years it has been absorbing it and, at the same time, it radiates with the living light of the Jewish culture.

“I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness”. (Ecclesiastes 2,13)

Janusz Makuch
the JCF Founder and Director

Jubilee edition, Festival tent and Kumzits

When planning the jubilee edition of the JCF, we did not know in what conditions it would be carried out. We tried to plan it in such a way that no matter what the binding pandemic regulations were, the Festival could take place not only in an online form, but also in reality and we could actually meet in Kazimierz.

From the very beginning we knew that, for logistic reasons, we would have to give up some of the events. The most difficult decision was certainly to call off the Shalom on Szeroka street concert. We are aware that for many of you this concert makes up the quintessence of the Jewish Culture Festival, but to get such a big machine going without being certain that the concert could take place, would not be a responsible thing to do.

Thinking of the 30th JCF, we wanted to make it – as in the preceding years – a meeting place. The place for meeting with the Jewish culture and for meeting each other.

That is why, we decided that most of the events would be held outside: so that the comfort of staying within the Festival space would be the largest. The tent which we set up in Kazimierz for the first time in 2019 thus became the best place for this year’s edition.

FESTIVAL TENT  was a venue for 90% of festival events: lectures, debates, meetings, workshops, but also concerts, live radio broadcasts and auditions.

Debates about sisterhood, Workshops For Seniors, Morning Papers series, Literary Program as well as many other events were also held in the tent.

The Festival Tent became a heart of the festival, the center of Kazimierz and core of the entire Jewish Krakow. All events were streamed live on our special internet platform. So we may say that the 30th festival was held at the same time in the tent and in your homes all around the globe.

We thought that after months of isolation, it would be worthwhile to take you for a walk – certainly a walk through Kazimierz.

KUMZITS, a series of artistic interventions was a good reason to take a walk in Kazimierz. The artists from the entire world, selected by the project curators within open recruitment process, created 8 remote projects strongly rooted in the history and in the present of this district. With the help of their local partners and thanks to the Internet and other new forms of communication, this idea was materialized so Kumzits – together with the Tent – became one of the most visible elements of the jubilee JCF.

Travelling restrictions made it impossible to come to the Festival not only for our regular guests from outside Poland and Europe, but also for many artists, thus this JCF edition was very local, and – as every JCF – strongly rooted in the reality of the surrounding world.

Fire, Women, Female Cantors - especially for JCF

The leading topic of the 30th JCF was fire. Anda Rottenberg, prof. Ernest Niemczyk, prof. Jacek Leociak and Janusz Makuch discussed various aspects of fire in the culture, history and art, whilst rabbi Boaz Pash told us about light in Judaism.

We decided to give the voice to women to show the Jewish and non-Jewish world from their perspective and to let them talk about fire. The definite majority of the projects within this year’s edition of the JCF were created by women or women had a leading role in them.

We invited Marta Majchrzak, the founder of herstories.pl, who prepared a series of four panels with a common title – Sisterhood. It was joined by renowned artists and activists; among others these were: Monika Krajewska, Zuzanna Hertzberg, Joanna Pawlik, Betty Q, Maria Świetlik.

A series of morning meetings, titled Morning Papers, was prepared on our invitation by Aga Kozak. This new format for the JCF contained not only the discussion of interesting press articles, but was also an opportunity to talk with interesting guests, such  as Joanna Grzymała – Moszczyńska, Yael Sherill, Bartek Kieżun, Przemek Krupski and Wojciech Skulski.

The symbol for this year’s edition, also showing the direction for future, was the concert of female cantors, held in the Tempel synagogue and closing the 30th JCF.

For the first time in a few hundred years’ long history of this temple and for the first time in Poland, the liturgy songs were sung by women – female cantors: Sveta Kundish, Rachel Weston and Aviv Weinberg, who were accompanied by an orchestra created especially for this event from Polish and foreign musicians.

Female cators’ concert, Sisterhood series or Morning Papers were not the only projects commissioned for the 30th Jewish Culture Festival.  

Another one was the Polish-Israeli tribute paid to Nicolaus Copernicus. The yard of the Collegium Maius, lit with photon mapping, became the scene for the music pieces, composed especially for this Polish astronomer by the Israeli duo, Dark Matter and a Polish vocalist, Erith and performed by them right next to the manuscript of Copernicus’ greatest work.

Love And Exile. Borderland – Warsaw – Israel – this was the title of sound lecture and concert prepared especially for JCF by Jan Młynarski and his Combo Salonowym. That was a journey through pre-war and post-war music composed and performed by Jewish artists.

Gad Tidhar – Israeli oud player recorded by us his solo concert at the Negev Desert under the title Baharim.  This concert was presented in our Tent and the guests could enjoy tea with mint served by our volunteers.

Max Czollek – a famous German social activist and artist – created for us a series of events showing the change of the situation o the Jews in the German society in the recent years and illustrating also what their contemporary identity is like.

The Festival volunteers – the Machers – prepared a series of events for the oldest guests of the Festival – Workshops for Seniors.

Music has been Festival's trade mark for many years. It pefectly mirrors diversity of Jewish culture. And that was also a case during our anniversary edition.

Beyond cantorial concert perfomred by female cantors Sveta Kundish, Aviv Weinberg and Rachel Weston; pre-war tangos presented by Jan Młynarski; and electronic music performed by Dark Matter and Erith, during 30th JCF you could also enjoy klezmer music perfomed by three violin players (Oksana Balatsko, Małgorzata Spiechlanin, Zofia Wydra) during Zahor ceremony and contemporary Yiddish music by Jordan Lee Schnee as well as a capell folk songs from various regions of the world by trio Gurgulitza.

Łona and Webber – one of the most popular Polish hip-hop bands – to surprise of many our guests also performed at the festival. They presented their recent album deeply rooted in music of various minorities living in Poland. Jealous – Berlin-based Israeli punk band performed definitely the loudest concert at the festival this year.

Festival audience could also enjoy many DJ-sets, performed this year by: Adam Kvasnica, Kixnare, DJ Falafel, Eta Hox i Daniel Drumz, as well as classical music in a concert series Classics At Noon performed by Duo Marimbazzi. This concert was streamed live to three locations in Krakow’s parks.

The music events comprised not only concerts and DJ-sets, but also radio plays (also those broadcast live from the JCF Tent), soundlectures, music film screenings (including recent film by Kutiman), screening of pre-war film Golem with music played live by Sarapata and Marcela Rybska, a discussion about contemporary Jewish music with Frank London, Neta Elkayam, Jeremiah Lockwood and Raphael Roginski, as well as conversation with Yossi Notkowitz – producer of festival’s cantors’ concerts.

For the first time, music was also a part of Literary Program Apart from meetings with such authors as  David Grossman, Bernardo Kuciński or Piotr Smolar we presented also a concert by Vysokie Celo ensemble and two storytelling performances by Studnia O.

JCF in kitchen

The jubilee JCF did not lack the culinary tones.

Apart from the traditional Shabbat breakfast with live music in the Festival’s Cheder, we also invited our guests for a special dinner in the woods near Krakow, in the “Ogień” (“Fire”) restaurant. The meeting was hosted by Robert Makłowicz, whilst the menu was prepared by Aleksander Baron.

Streaming of events

Most of the events were availabl;e live in internet on a special platform we created in that purpose. Recordnigs are still available free of charge at 30.jewishfestival.pl, as well as on our Vimeo channel (see below).

Streaming platform is a public task financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the grant competition “Public Diplomacy 2021” “

That was our fiery anniversary 30th Jewish Culture Festival. Next year, please be ready for a meeting with another element – soon you will get to know whether this is going to be water or air.

30th JCF in numbers


festival events
(detailed list below)


artists, lecturers, instructors




countries of volunteers’ origin

5 518

persons participated
live in the events

17 349

persons watched
streaming live

28 705

users of festival website

134 123

number of views
of festival website

22 967

followers on Facebook

13 200

subscribers on

3 180

followers on Instagram

265 177

social media outreach


articles in Polish media

422 037

outreach of media information (excl.social media)

161 180 PLN


Above infomration refer to the period between June 1st –  July 10th, 2021 and are based on data available on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram as well as Brand24 portal.


To get a complete list of sponsors, donors and partners, please click the image above.




President of the Society and Director of the Festival: Janusz Makuch

Festival office: Edyta Gawlak, Robert Gądek, Paweł Kowalewski, Julia Lorenc, Katarzyna Wydra

Accounting: Maria Bobrowska, Klaudia Czaja, Monika Dyrlaga, Elżbieta Woch-Stopa

Social media person: Michalina Pieczonka

Coordination of volunteers: Łukasz Drużkowski, Michał Dziewit, Maria Kistowska, Paulina Kowalska, Monika Krawczyk, Grzegorz Mikunda, Aleksandra Trakul, Małgorzata Wolska

Technical services: Agencja Artystyczna Duo Marek Suszkiewicz, FS Audio Maciej Fryc

Live streaming: Eventstream Wojciech Sadowski, Grzegorz Staszek, Artur Staszek

Visual identification and streaming platform were created by Studio Otwarte

Photo: Edyta Dufaj, Wojciech Krysiak, Karolina Moskała, Michał Ramus

Tent design: Marta Staszków

Useful links

detailed list of festival events

Concerts, DJ-sets

  • Opening Concert: Dark Matter | Ira Nussbaum, Nadav Direktor
  • Shabbat Brunch | DJ set : Adam Kvasnica
  • DJ-set: DJ Kixnare | support
  • Łona i Webber + The Pimps | Andrzej Mikosz – sampler, synth, Adam Zieliński – vocal, Jose Manuel Alban Juarez – drums, Maciej Kałka – bass guitar, Daniel Popiałkiewicz – guitar, Michał Kowalski – keyboards, Paweł Bokun – vocal, Tomasz Licak – sax, clarinette, Fabian Kubiszyn – trombone, Joachim Rufael – trumpet
  • Classics At Noon: Marimbazzi Duo | Jakub Kołodziejczyk, Paweł Dyyak – marimbas |audio live streaming: Alchemia (plac Nowy), Karmy garden at ul. św. Wawrzyńca 9 and Planty Park (square at ul. Jagiellońska)
  • Zahor | concert | Oksana Balatsko – violin, Małgorzata Spiechlanin – violin, Zofia Wydra – violin,
  • Jealous | concert | Adi Kum – bass guitar, vocal, Paz Bonfil – guitar, vocal, Uri Rennert – drums
  • Copernicus – a Dark Matter Experience | concert | Dark Matter – music, visuals, mapping, Erith – vocal. Commissioned by the 30th JCF and presented at the Collegium Maius Museum’s courtyard.
  • Golem | screening of the film by Paul Wegener (1920) with live music by SARAPATA x Marcela Rybska (Michał Sarapata, Mateusz Sarapata, Marcela Rybska). Cooperation: Goethe Institut
  • Baharim. Concert From Tej Negev Desert | Gad Tidhar – oud
  • Jan Młynarski & Combo Salonowe present: Love And Exile. Borderland – Warsaw – Israel | concert | Jan Młynarski – vocal, mandoline, Joanna Nawojska – vocal, Grzegorz Tarwid – keyboards, Lesław Matecki – guitar, Jarosław Bothur – saxophone
  • The Mapscrambler: Original Poetry And MUsic In Yiddish | concert | Jordan Lee Schnee, feat. Ignacio Z. Salvadores, Hotte Schulz
  • DJ-set | DJ Falafel, cooperation: OFF Radio Kraków
  • Music For The Sunrise | Eta Hox & Daniel Drumz | cooperation: OFF Radio Kraków
  • Female Cantors’ Concert | cantor Sveta Kundish, cantor Aviv Weinberg, cantor Rachel Weston, Patrick Farrell – accordion, piano, music director, Christian Dawid – clarinette, saxophone, Sebastian Flaig – drums, Frank London – trumpet, Irena Czubek-Davidson – harp, Bartosz Sałdan – marimba, vibraphone, Marlena Skoczylas – trombone, Małgorzata Tracz – French horn, Martyna Bachowska – double bass. Commissioned by the 30th JCF. Concert was dedicated to the memory of Jan Kulczyk and organized in cooperation with the Kulczyk Foundation.
  • Closing concert: Gurgulitza | Madlen Stange, Netta Shahar, Nitsan Bernstein – vocals
  • Vysoké Čelo | Janusz Jurga – electronics, Maciej Jurga – electronics, Damian Wolski – guitar, Filip Sroka – guitar, cooperation: Krakow Festival Office, as a part of the Literary Program

KUMZITS. Come and Sit.

This project was commissioned by the 30th JCF and organized in partnership with Curatorial Collective for Public Art from Berlin and HaMiffal from Jerusalem, and was co-financed by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Goethe Institute and The City of Jerusalem.

  • Phone Home | Ilona Marti
  • The Artist is Absent | Noa Arad Yairi
  • Sit With Me. Your Own Krakow. Souvenirs For Free | Pablo Cabrera Ferralis – 10 events
  • Tent Of Assembly | Dan Farberoff & David Behar Perahia, cooperation: Adam Zduńczyk – 10 events
  • Hanging by a Thread | Maya Muchawsky Parnas – 10 events
  • HaMapah | Yael Serlin – 10 events
  • 64.000 Stones | R. Stein Wexler
  • Nashkevellin | Andi Arnovitz & Cornelia Renz, cooperation: Hila Lulu LinFarah Kufer Birim, Iwona Demko, Angela Hampel, Malwina Niespodziewana, Joanna Pawlik, Tanja Seltzer, Naomi Tannhauser – 3 events
  • A Walk With Curator| PL and EN | Meydad Eliyahu, Julia Kawka, Paweł Kowalewski, Lianne Mol, Yael Sherill | 10 events

Lectures, meetings, soundlectures

  • The Element Of Fire In Architecture – From Prehistoric Relics And Monuments Of The Atiquity To The Temple Of  Salomon| lecture | PL | prof. Ernest Niemczyk
  • Ner Tamid. In Search Of Eternal Light | lecture | PL | Janusz Makuch
  • Colours In Kabbalah: See The Lights Through The Prism | lecture | PL | rabbi Boaz Pash
  • The Secret Of The Twelve Lights Of The Twelve Gems | lecture | PL | rabbi Boaz Pash
  • Blue Gas-Eyes | lecture | PL | Anda Rottenberg
  • The Underground Muranów As An Archive Of The Holocaust | lecture | PL | prof. Jacek Leociak
  • From Poland with Love. Letters To Harald Szeemann | authors meeting with Anda Rottenberg | PL | moderation: Anna Wacławik-Orpik; cooperation: Wydawnictwo Stentor
  • Producer From Tel Aviv: Magic Fire and Cantors | meeting | EN | Yosi Notkowitz, moderation: Janusz Makuch
  • Sh’virat Ha-Kelim. Scattered Sparks Of Jewish Music – radio show by Janusz Makuch for Radio Kraków
  • Sh’virat Ha-Kelim. Scattered Sparks Of Jewish Music | online discussion | Frank London, Jeremiah Lockwood, Neta Elkayam, Raphael Roginski | presented in two parts
  • Radio Diaspora |radio show live| PL | Paulina Bisztyga, cooperation: Radio Kraków, OFF Radio Kraków
  • Music Nomads | soundlecture | EN | Adam Kvasnica
  • Meeting with Frank London | translation: Katarzyna Spiechlanin
  • Women – volume 4th of the series “Jewish Citizens Of Krakow” by Ewa Mańkowska | authors meeting | PL | moderation: Wojciech Bonowicz and Joanna Geller; cooperation: Muzeum Etnograficzne, EMG Publishing

Literary Program

Literary Program was organized in cooperation with Krakow Festival Office

  • Lem The Prophet? On Sepulkas And Robots Around Us | discussion | Szymon Kloska, Aleksandra Przegalińska
  • Piotr Smolar: A Bad Jew | author meeting | PL | moderation: Małgorzata Szczurek
  • David Grossman: In The Fire Of Stories |author meeting | EN | moderation: Grzegorz Jankowicz
  • Wise Men Of Chelm by Menachem Kipnis | storytelling | PL | Grupa Studnia O.: Beata Frankowska, Jarosław Kaczmarek
  • Oath Of Alliance by Shmuel Yosef Agnon | storytelling | PL | Grupa Studnia O.: Beata Frankowska, Jarosław Kaczmarek
  • Bernardo Kucinski: The Narrator Of K. | author meeting | PT / PL | moderation: Michał Nogaś

Morning Papers

Series of events prepared and moderated by Aga Kozak

  • Fire Drove Me Out, Fire Guides Me | PL | Aga Kozak, guest: Joanna Grzymała-Moszczyńska
  • The Fire Of My Soul, The Fire Of My Body |meeting| PL | Aga Kozak, guest: Marta Majchrzak
  • Mrs. Maisel. A Fiery Brunette Away From The Hearth | meeting | PL | Aga Kozak, guests: Wojciech Skulski, Przemek Krupski
  • Fire In The Cooking Stove | meeting | PL | Aga Kozak, guest: Bartek Kieżun
  • My Home Is Where I Light A Fire | meeting | EN | Aga Kozak, guest: Yael Sherill

Workshops for Seniors

Series of events prepared by festival volunteers – The Machers

  • “Distance” At A Distance | collage workshops | PL / EN | Akuratnie Studio and Jackob Yona Art / HaMiffal
  • A Story About My Own Place |reportage writing workshop | PL | Jakub Janus
  • Rethinking Cafe: When The Fire Of War Dies Down | discussion | EN / PL | Anna Wilczyńska (Salam Lab)
  • Rethinking Cafe. Intergroup Dialogue And Acceptance | workshop | EN/PL | Sindhuja Sankaran, Fioana Rowand
  • Rethinking Cafe. Tea-Time Stories |workshop | PL / EN | Adam Gajda


Series of panel discussions curated by Marta Majchrzak, commissioned by the 30th JCF

  • Fire In The Heart. Creative Fire | PL | Joanna Pawlik, Iwona Demko, Zuzanna Hertzberg, Patrycja Dołowy
  • Fire Of Anger And Disagreement. Women Against Patriarchy | PL | Agnieszka Glińska, Maria Świetlik, Betty Q, Iwona Demko, moderation: Magdalena Kicińska
  • Fire In The Voice: Female Cantors – Reaching Out To Impossible. Feminist Liturgical Singing | EN | cantor Sveta Kundish, cantor Aviv Weinberg, moderation: Aga Kozak
  • Fire In The Voice: Gurgulitza – Fire, That Resurrects Music From The Past | EN | Madlen Stange, Netta Shahar, Nitsan Bernstein, moderation: Aga Kozak

New Jewish Voices From Germany

Series of events commissioned by the 30th JCF, curated by Max Czollek and organized in cooperation with Goethe Institut, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

  • Mazzel Tov Cocktail by Arkadij Khaet & Mickey Paatzsch | film screening
  • Das Beste Abendmahl by Moritz Richard Schmidt | film screening
  • JewsNewsToday by Moritz Richard Schmidt | film screening
  • De-Integration. The Making and Breaking of Jewish Identity in a Post-Migrant Germany | lecture | EN | Max Czollek
  • New Jewish Voices From Germany | online discussion | EN / PL | Max Czollek, Talya Feldman, Sasha Salzman

Other events

  • Outdoor Dinner: Fire In The Kitchen | RestoBar Ogień | chef: Aleksander Baron, host of the evening: Robert Makłowicz
  • Kazimierz – My Personal Story | a walk | PL | Janusz Makuch
  • Mamboniks | film screening| EN | dir. Lex Gillespie
  • Wachaga | film screening | dir. Kutiman
  • Zahor | ceremony commemorating Krakow Jews  | moderation: Janusz Makuch
  • Shabbat Brunch | menu: Jacek Mochnal and Cheder crew
  • Digital Kazimierz: KAZ_LAB 2021 | multimedia workshop | PL | Małgorzata Łuczyna, Jacek Złoczowski [memorymorph.pl] – 3 meetings
  • The Light Of Anamnesis | opening of an exhibition | artists: Andrzej Bednarczyk, Tomasz Dobiszewski, Mirosław Filonik, Nadia Issa, grupa not a Number, Włodzimierz Szymański. Curators: Alicja Panasiewicz, Diana Wasilewska; cooperation: The Faculty Of Art, Pedagogical University of Krakow
  • Secrets of Kazimierz | a walk | PL | Krystyna Patykowska; cooperation: Museum of Urban Engineering
  • I Cannot Believe My Eyes | workshops for children | PL | Jadwiga Marchwica; cooperation: Museum of Urban Engineering
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