The Revival of Jewish Life in Krakow and Ride For The Living
Q&A With Jonathan Ornstein
Thursday, February 16 at 7 pm at JCC Dallas
Join us for a Q&A session with Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow. Jonathan will discuss the work of his JCC, the revival of Jewish life in Krakow, and the strong ties between JCC Krakow and JCC Dallas, created through the Ride For The Living program.
About Ride for the Living
Ride For The Living is an annual fundraising event under the patronage of Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich. The 55-mile bicycle ride from Auschwitz to JCC Krakow not only remembers Jewish history, but celebrates and supports the miraculous rebirth of Jewish life in Poland today.
The 2017 Ride For The Living will take place from June 22 - 25, 2017. Ride For The Living consists of 4 days of educational and community programs, with the highlight of the bike ride on June 23, 2017.
Click here for more information.
Revival of Jewish Life in Krakow
For hundreds of years, Poland was the intellectual and cultural center of European Jewish life. On the eve of the Holocaust, in 1939, 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland. Over 90% of them were murdered by the Nazis over the next 6 years. Jewish life, almost completely extinguished during the war, went underground during the almost 50 years of Communist oppression, only to reawaken in 1989 when communism ended. Now, Poland is once again emerging as a vibrant, growing, safe community for Jews and those interested and committed to Jewish life. Jonathan Ornstein, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, Poland, will give a first-hand account of the miraculous rebirth of Jewish life in Poland today, and discuss why it is such a vital story for the Jewish world at large. In an age of growing anti-Semitism in Europe, Poland is one of the safest places to be Jewish and explore and celebrate Jewish life.
Since its opening in April 2008 by HRH, The Prince of Wales, Jonathan has served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, an organization devoted to rebuilding Jewish life in Krakow. The JCC boasts over 600 Jewish members, welcomes 8,000 visitors a month, and has become one of Poland's most visible signs of Jewish revival.
Prior to the JCC's opening in 2008, he lectured in Modern Hebrew at Krakow's Jagiellonian University Department of Jewish Studies for 6 years and founded the "Gesher" association for Polish-Israeli dialogue. A native of New York City, Jonathan moved to Israel in 1994, living for 7 years on a kibbutz in the Negev desert and serving for 2 years in a combat unit in the I.D.F. before making his way to Poland in 2001.
He is a founding member of "Przymierze," the Krakow Association of Christians and Jews where he serves as vice president. He also serves on the boards of the Krakow branch of the Child Survivors of the Holocaust organization and JCC Global.
In 2014 Jonathan was awarded the Cohon Award for services benefitting the Jewish People and in 2015 he was awarded the "Bene Merito" medal by the Polish Foreign Ministry for his work promoting Poland.