Each photograph is a separate story. Each photo shows some history, yet different for everyone. What histories of our volunteers are hidden behind the picture that you probably know very well?
If I was to give a title to this photo, I would name it: “I would like to be in Krakow again for a moment”.
This was so many beautiful memories, so many stories! I remember when the coordinators told us that the Sunday closing concert was very important and very ceremonial. We had to wear elegant outfits which emphasized the importance of what was supposed to happen. When I left the dormitory, ready to work at the concert I saw Umer, who looked exactly like I did! Completely not planned, but I must say that we looked really good.
And then the preparations to the concert started. This was a great experience, because it was my first concert ever!
I remember that we went there to pick up a few things which were necessary during the performance. The way we smile in the photo shows how I felt at that time – we were both very excited to see a concert in a synagogue; it was something amazing.
From the time perspective I can say that the photo was taken a short while before this great moment – the concert in which I also took part. I remember the chills which I had all the time.
Since that time I have never seen a better performance! I would like to be there again.
After the briefing, the coordinators asked us to go out to the town together and hang feminist posters which was a part of the project Kumzits.
It was quite late in the evening and I remember that a lot of volunteers came then. For me it was really important to be there. I simply believe that feminism and women’s rights are very important issues. In the end, women make up 50% of humanity. This is a lot!
And when we were hanging the posters in the city, I wanted some of them to be placed really high so that everybody who walks around Kazimierz could see the, I had to climb high to hand them.
Then I felt really strong. I felt that we were doing something very important for the Festival and for the women in Poland.
All in all, I would say that this photo was a trailer of the moments which I experienced during that month in Krakow, when I was a volunteer at the 30th JCF.
In this photo we are in an unusual place, which was a special zone created and designed by two artists, and in which they showed their own vision of being away from home for various reasons. This place was called The Tent of Assembly and was very special for me, because, in some way, it told my own story.
In the photograph there is also a lovely and very thoughtful girl, our great coordinator, Ola, who was involved with the Kumzits project and who was always ready to help in any situation. I still remember that we asked our dear Ola to bring us umbrellas because it was going to rain then and we were at the banks of the Vistula river.
In fact, the only purpose of her visit there was to bring us these umbrellas and she came especially for us, but she forgot to take the umbrellas with her!
This picture was taken at Cheder, one day after we finished our duties as Machers at the festival. It was such an important time for me. You can see me – my back in fact – sharing this moment with Ola, the coordinator for the Kumzits‘ team of Mediators, and Sergio – my fellow Mediator.
I remember being very tired, yet very satisfied after 10 fascinating days of volunteering at the festival, living the artworks of the Kumzits project and going through some very meaningful conversations and moments with many of my fellow Machers.
The triple hug which is documented in this photo is really a moment of relief and rejoicement of our shared moments during our mediating shifts in the hot (and also rainy) days of the festival.
This photograph puts a smile on a face, gives warmth to the heart, evoking magnificent memories…
The 29th edition of the Festival gave us a lot of challenges: one of them was the coordination of a completely new project – a Tent. The coordinator of the team responsible for this space – Gosia – came up with a brilliant idea of using walkie-talkies to facilitate the contact with the most important command posts of the Festival.
As we soon realized, walkie-talkies really can save lives. The most important thing is that they have the magic power of connecting people – as you can see in the picture here, the jokes with walkie-talkies conquered the Machers’ hearts and became a starting point for the talks and creating an even more friendly atmosphere.
As far as I remember, at that moment Gosia, Paulina and me were laughing at how people react to the “Secret service Macher”, when suddenly a voice came from Gosia’s pocket: “Halo halo! Tent? This is office speaking, we need one person to be delegated to …”. Such thing may happen only during the JCF!
And this is the whole truth about the life of Macher. The Festival takes more than a week, every day is filled with workshops, concerts and lectures – from early morning till late night. And I do not know any Macher who would attend only the vents they were assigned to. One the one hand this is because it would be a shame to miss so many great concerts, workshops or lectures, on the other – for the people and for the atmosphere.
And thus this photo. Sometimes it was better to take a short nap in our Volunteers’ Center to have enough power to dance and sing for the whole night or to get earlier on the next day and come to the Yiddish singing class.
During the Festival, the Volunteer Center is my second home. I remember that during my first JCF, I was really surprised with this space and how much care and thought was put into its preparation – there were sofas, pouffes; there was always something to eat, often the Machers would bring their own pastries or salads, we listened to the music, watched films, and, as you see, one could even get a decent sleep there. Thanks to this all, the JCF is one of the things for which I waited from the very last day of one edition till the first day of another.
This was one of the last days of the Lost and Found workshops, conducted by Anat and Meydad from the HaMiffal collective.
Together with Nelly Paletta we worked with them every day, making up a great team together. This picture is like a “family photo”, where we pose with sand casts, water contained and the brush which were the tools for our everyday work.
I remember that one of the best moment s in the workshops was the closing event. Then we asked a question to each participant: “What have you lost recently?” and, on the basis of the answers provided, we selected one of the casts made during the previous days, and then, we handed it in, wrapped as a gift.
This was a superb occasion to conduct workshops together with Meydad and Anat, but also to talk with the Festival audience.
The 29th edition of the JCF was my first year of volunteering at the Festival; then I was responsible for the Festival tent, so it was only on Szeroka, that I had the opportunity to listen to the most important musicians play.
As the organization of the Szalom on Szeroka is the crowning event for the volunteers, on that day the atmosphere was really exceptional. The artists whom I assisted, were opening the concert. I remember the moment when they left the stage. This was a sign allowing to relax an immerse in the colorful, warm and deeply emotional sounds of the Jewish music.
JCF even more opened my heart to another human, to nature and to ethnic music – the elements which I believe I have been missing all the time, since I was born.
photos: Edyta Dufaj, Michał Ramus, The Machers