Jewish Culture Festival – be there, where history meets modernity!

words Alexa Wang

jewish festival Kraków

The Jewish Culture Festival, which takes place in Kraków’s Kazimierz district, is one of the oldest and at the same time most important cultural events both in Kraków and in Poland. For it presents the tradition and richness of contemporary culture, created by Jewish people all over the world. What is worth knowing about this event? Check out what awaits us at this year’s edition of the festival!

The Jewish Culture Festival has been organised since 1988. Every year it attracts around 30,000 visitors from all over the world, having up to several hundred different attractions awaiting them over the course of 10 days, including concerts, workshops, exhibitions and lectures. Over the course of the festival, more than 100 artists, lecturers and instructors provide the audience with a wealth of knowledge, share their experiences and introduce the culture of the Jewish community, supported by dozens of volunteers from 15 countries. The main point of reference is Israel, where Jewish culture is developing in the most natural way, revealing all its faces – and this is the precise goal of the festival!

Why is it worth attending the Jewish Culture Festival? 

When you visit the Kraków’s Jewish Culture Festival, you can take part in a variety of projects, for example on the subject of identity or the role of women today. It is also worth seeing all kinds of installations, illustrations and murals, and listening to the atmospheric stories told by young authors. Since 2020, the participants have also had the opportunity to discover the legacy of the Jewish people in the form of unique podcasts, which are posted on the official Jewish Culture Festival profile on the Spotify app.           

In addition, the event popularises Jewish culture through film screenings by well-known film-makers and amateurs, evenings of klezmer music, meetings with representatives of various fields of science and art, and lively markets. Importantly, there are also programmes dedicated to children (Jewish Culture Festival Kids)!

Jewish Culture Festival – a bit of history

Since 2009, a special award has been presented to individuals and institutions that support the Jewish Culture Festival as a token of respect and gratitude. This shows the joy of cultivating customs which, at the same time, make a significant contribution to eliminating anti-Semitism. All in all, it is good to be part of such a noble idea.

Since 2013, the Małopolska Region has been an inseparable and proud partner of the festival. The most famous element, however, is the 7-hour concert of Jewish music from all over the world, the so-called “Shalom at Szeroka”.

In 2021, the 30th anniversary edition of the festival attracted 5,518 attendees at live events and 17,349 online participants. As for social media, on its Facebook fanpage, the festival has almost 23,000 followers. It also has almost 14,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 3,000 followers on Instagram. Therefore, it is safe to say that there is no other such event in the entire world!

What have we got for you in 2022? 

The Jewish Culture Festival takes place from 24 June to 3 July 2022 – traditionally in Kraków’s Kazimierz district. This year’s edition will be dedicated to the element of water. Artists, scientists and creators will focus on its religious and ritual functions, the meanings it carries and its symbolism. Moreover, as this is a festival not only based on history, but above all translating it into the “here and now”, there must also be references to the practical use of water or, for example, climate issues, which are increasingly coming into the foreground in social discussions. Everything, of course, is enveloped in art of the highest quality, the attractions awaiting us are:

  • the Living Under Water exhibition and meetings, prepared together with Beit Venezia. A home for Jewish Culture;
  • a series of Future of Memory discussions and workshops that will explore how historical memory affects our perception of the present and the future;
  • The Cantors Concert, prepared by Jeremiah Lockwood, featuring cantors: Yaakov Lemmer, Shimi Miller, Yoel Kohn and the Polish Airis String Quartet;
  • a concert by the acclaimed Israeli artist with Persian roots, Liraz, entitled Roya;
  • a series of concerts by the Israeli Malox, or the band Assafa and Eyal Talmudi together with Maniucha Bikont, during which their first joint album will be recorded.

How do I get to the Jewish Culture Festival? 

Getting to Kraków is very easy. It takes approximately 6 hours (598.6 km) to drive from Berlin on the A4 motorway. The Kraków-Warsaw route is only 290.4 km (3h41 via the S7). In addition, Intercity and Pendolino trains run regularly. It is also much easier to travel to Kraków by plane – from Kraków-Balice Airport there are flights not only to Frankfurt, London and Warsaw, but also to over 140 other cities in 33 countries. This makes it easy for everyone to attend the Jewish Culture Festival… and more!

Kraków and Małopolska Poland – Everyone Is Invited

Kraków and the region of Małopolska have many more festivals, fairs and concerts attended by people from all continents. For example, Alicia Keys will perform at Tauron Arena during the Jewish Culture Festival (on 26 June), which is a perfect opportunity to listen to world class music.

Mountain hiking enthusiasts can visit the Tatra Mountains. Zakopane, the most famous resort town in the Polish Tatras, is just 100 kilometres from Kraków. Indeed, Małopolska is full of marvellous attractions, and most importantly – everyone is invited (be sure to check it out on Instagram and Facebook). Enjoy the culture, cuisine and unique atmosphere!

The project is financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Regional Operational Programme for the Małopolska Region 2014–2020.

jewish festival Kraków

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