Wednesday, July 27, 2011
For the last 21 years the streets of the city of Krakow, Poland, have been crowded with musicians and listeners as the Krakow Jewish Cultural Festival takes over each summer. This year the festival events took place from June 24 through July 3.
The Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków is an annual cultural event organized since 1988 in the once Jewish district of Kazimierz (part of Kraków) by the Jewish Culture Festival Society headed by Janusz Makuch, a self-described meshugeneh, fascinated with all things Jewish.The main goal of the festival is to educate people about Jewish culture, history and faith (Judaism), which flourished in Poland before the Holocaust, as well as to familiarize them with modern Jewish culture developing mostly in the United States and Israel, and finally, to provide entertainment.
Each festival is held in late June or early July and takes nine days, from Saturday to Sunday. During that time concerts, exhibitions, plays, lectures, workshops, tours, etc. are organized. The two most important concerts are: the inaugural concert on the first Sunday, and the final concert on the last Saturday of the festival. The former usually takes place in one of seven synagogues of Kazimierz and features cantorial music; the latter is always held outdoors, in Ulica Szeroka, the main street of the Jewish part of Kazimierz, and features klezmer music. In between there are many more concerts, usually with some variations of klezmer music.
Here's a little taste of what went on for nine days in June and the beginning of July. Enjoy!