Thousands visit Krakow synagogues


KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) — Thousands of people visited Krakow’s seven historic synagogues in an event aimed to foster Jewish identity among Krakow’s small Jewish community.

Called Seven at Night, the June 4 event also was designed to educate non-Jewish Poles about contemporary Jewish culture. Sponsored by the Krakow Jewish Community Center, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Krakow Jewish communal organization, the event started with a public Havdalah ceremony in the courtyard of the JCC, and then the seven synagogues in the city’s historic Jewish district, Kazimierz, were open from 10:30 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Each synagogue hosted an exhibit, concert, panel discussion or other activity highlighting Jewish life and culture as lived today. All events were free. They ranged from talks on "the ABCs of Judaism" by Krakow Rabbi Boas Pash to a concert by an Israeli rock band and a panel discussion on Polish Jewish youth.

Organizers estimated that more than 5,000 people visited the synagogues. "It far, far exceeded our expectations," JCC director Jonathan Ornstein told JTA.

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