Thousands visit Krakow’s seven synagogues

Event designed to foster Jewish identity, educate non-Jewish Poles about contemporary Jewish culture.

KRAKOW, POLAND  -- Thousands visited Krakow's seven historic synagogues in an unprecedented event aimed to foster Jewish identity among Krakow's small Jewish community.
The event was also designed to educate non-Jewish Poles about contemporary Jewish culture.
Called "Seven at Night," the June 4 event was sponsored by the Krakow Jewish Community Center, the Joint Distribution Committee and Krakow Jewish communal organization. It started with a public Havdalah ceremony in the courtyard of the JCC, 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, often waiting in long lines to gain entry.
"It far, far exceeded our expectations," JCC director Jonathan Ornstein told JTA.