Warsaw’s Jewish theater holds public Shabbat dinner as future uncertain


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Several hundred people attended a Shabbat dinner organized by the director of the Jewish Theatre here, which has a rich history and an uncertain future.

Golda Tencer, who also heads the Shalom Foundation, held the public celebration Friday evening in Grzybowski Square. Long tables were set with challah, fruits, kosher dishes and sweets. The diners, including Jewish artists from the theater, sang Shabbat songs

“Here at Grzybowski Square we have our roots,” said Tencer. “Where there will be actors, there will be a theater.”

Formed in 1950, the Jewish Theatre is a link to the pre-Holocaust culture of Poland’s Yiddish-speaking Jewish community. Earlier this year, Poland’s president honored the actors for their contributions to Polish and Polish-Jewish culture.

Ghelamco, the company that owns the building where the theater operates, closed the theatre at the beginning of June, blocking entrance and halting performances. Looking to build a new high-rise at the site and move the theater, the company cited a decision by the district construction supervisor’s office, which called the building a threat to public safety.

But the supervisor’s office has since said the building is not a hazard, and that the decision of the district inspector is no longer binding. Ghelamco then changed its mind, telling the management of the Jewish theater that it will receive floor space elsewhere in the building.

It is still not known where the new theater will open for its new artistic season starting in October.

The public Shabbat dinner for the residents of Warsaw was organized as part of the 13th annual Singer’s Warsaw Festival. During World War II, the nearby All Saints Church was located in the Warsaw Ghetto, the largest Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe, and provided shelter to Jews.


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