WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — For the first time in years, Poland did not grant money to two major Jewish community groups as part of its annual allocations for religious minorities.
As part of its annual funding of Polish minority groups, the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration did not allocate any funds for 2017 to the Jewish community of Warsaw or to the Association of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, the country’s primary Jewish communal umbrella group. The ministry did allocate a total of $177, 113 to several other Jewish groups, down from $250,920 in 2016.
In the past, the Warsaw community used grant money to print a communal magazine, while the Association of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland used the funds to print a Jewish calendar. Another Jewish magazine, Chidusz, printed in Wroclaw by a foundation headed by Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, did not receive financial support either after receiving $16,619 the previous year. The ministry also canceled funding for the Warsaw Jewish Theatre and the Center for Yiddish Culture.
The majority of this year’s allocation to Jewish sources went to the Jewish Social-Cultural Association in Poland, or TSKZ, which will use the money to support its activities, a library and celebrations of Jewish holidays.
Anna Chipczynska, the president of the Jewish community in Warsaw, said she had yet to receive official notice from the ministry and does not know why the grant funds were refused.
“The allocation of funds is a disappointment among the minorities of our country,” Chipczynska said. “We regret the lack of subsidies, which we learned about online.”
President Andrzej Duda sent Hanukkah greetings to Polish Jews this year, but did not organize a meeting and candle-lighting ceremony in the presidential palace as he had in previous years. A meeting between Duda and the Jewish community is scheduled to be held in mid-January.