Poland’s Jewish Community Today:
Looking Back, Moving Forward

Today’s Jewish community in Poland is the result of the dedicated efforts of many people over the eight decades since the end of World War II. This story is perhaps less well known than other periods of Poland’s Jewish history. This discussion will be a rare opportunity to hear from some of those who contributed to building contemporary Jewish life in Poland as they share their experiences and stories from the 1960s through the 1990s.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

PDT: 11:00 a.m.

CDT: 1:00 p.m.

EDT: 2:00 p.m.

UK: 7:00 p.m.

CET: 8:00 p.m.

Israel: 9:00 p.m.

Konstanty Gebert is an international reporter and columnist for Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest daily newspaper, and founder of the Polish-Jewish intellectual monthly magazine Midrasz (1997–2019). Konstanty was a democratic opposition activist in the 1970s when together with Stanisław Krajewski and others he organized the Jewish Flying University, an underground group that met clandestinely to study Judaism and Jewish culture. He was then an underground journalist under the Communist military dictatorship. He is the author of Living in the Land of Ashes (2013) and ten other books on subjects such as the Polish democratic transformation, French policy towards Poland, the Yugoslav wars, Israel, and postwar Polish Jewry. In 2018, he was awarded the American Jewish Press Association Rockower Award.

Monika Krajewska is a Warsaw-based photographer, artist, and educator. Formerly a journalist, editor and—for many years—a teacher at the Lauder-Morasha Day School in Warsaw. She is the author of two groundbreaking photography books on Jewish cemeteries in Poland: Time of Stones (1982) and A Tribe of Stones (1993). As a paper cutter, she is inspired by traditional Jewish texts and symbols, which she infuses with her own unique style. Her papercuts and photographs have been exhibited in Poland and abroad and are included in many private collections and synagogues. Monika Krajewska also conducts workshops on exploring Jewish tradition through art.

Stanisław Krajewski, professor of philosophy at the University of Warsaw, has published widely in the field of logic, philosophy of mathematics, as well as on the Jewish experience and Christian-Jewish dialogue. He has been actively involved in the renewal of Jewish life in Poland since the late 1970s. Professor Krajewski has served as the Jewish co-chairman of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews since its inception in 1991. He also co-authored the postwar gallery of the Core Exhibition at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. In 2005, he published a critically acclaimed book: Poland and the Jews: Reflections of a Polish Polish Jew.

Helise Lieberman, Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Life and Learning, is an informal educator and a former Hillel director. She was the founding principal of the Lauder-Morasha Day School in Warsaw, which opened in 1994. She has served as a consultant to the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe, the Westbury Group, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and to the JDC–Baltics. Helise is co-creator of the Jewish Heritage Hard Talks series (2020) and is active in the development of pan-European of Jewish heritage educational initiatives. She was awarded the Bene Merito medal by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2015. A dual citizen, Helise has lived in Warsaw since 1994.

Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, has a long and rich history of involvement with the Jewish communities of both Eastern Europe and Asia. As a student in the 1970s, Rabbi Schudrich began travelling to Eastern Europe, leading Jewish groups and meeting with the members of Jewish communities behind the Iron Curtain. After receiving his rabbinic ordination, he served as Rabbi of Japan from 1983 to 1989. In 1992, he moved in to Warsaw and, in June 2000, became the Rabbi of Warsaw and Łódź. In December 2004, he was appointed to the position of Chief Rabbi of Poland. Rabbi Schudrich serves Poland’s growing Jewish community as the official interlocutor between Polish Jews, the government, and the Catholic Church.

Michael H. Traison taught history and the social sciences for over 15 years prior to being called to the bar. Since then he has represented corporate clients in commercial matters for almost 40 years, and is a widely recognized leader in helping businesses resolve complex legal issues. For three decades as a senior partner in a firm with three offices in Poland. Traison has been recognized for his dedicated work on the ground in Poland promoting the preservation of memory and education and understanding between the Jewish and Catholic communities since 1992. Traison created an annual ceremony honoring non-Jewish Poles preserving Jewish Heritage in Poland, which will celebrate its 25th consecutive edition in June 2022. He is a citizen of the State of Israel and the United States, married to Alina, and the father of twin daughters.

This session is organized in partnership with the Michael Traison Fund for Poland.

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