(JTA) — Several Jewish groups from Poland are preparing to host 12 of the country’s senior lawmakers and Cabinet ministers at a Shabbat dinner in Warsaw.
The dinner, hosted by the TSKZ cultural group and a smaller organization called the Jewrnalism Foundation, will feature guests from across the political spectrum, including the secretary of state, Anna Maria Anders, organizers said in a statement Friday.
“There is no better way to bring our communities together and have our voice heard than by meeting with the politicians in a comfortable, joyful setting, and Shabbat dinner is that opportunity,” said Klaudia Klimek, 28, who founded the Jewrnalism Foundation and heads the Krakow branch of TSKZ.
The event comes at a tense period in the relationship between the mainstream representatives of Poland’s Jewish communities and the government of President Andrzej Duda of the right-wing Law and Justice party. While some Polish Jews support his policies — including vocal opposition to Russian intimidation and the elevation of the status of Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust – others resent what they describe as a rise in nationalism and xenophobia under his government.
The event’s organizers said they would like to see discussions focused on “educating on Polish Jewish past, restitution, media relations and the State of Israel.” The dinner is to take place at a restaurant near the Sejm, the Polish parliament.
Beyond the content discussed, however, the event is an opportunity to expose leading Polish statesmen to what it means to be Jewish, said Jonny Daniels, whose From the Depths Holocaust commemoration is a partner of TSKZ in producing the Shabbat dinner and other projects.
“Outreach comes from being proud of who we are and our past,” he said, adding that “for the majority of the politicians in attendance, this will be their first Shabbat dinner ever.”