Perspectives from Poland: an Update

As we wrap up a year of engaging conversations with preeminent scholars and authors, this last conversation will be an overview of what’s been happening in Poland—behind and beyond the headlines.

Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, and Janusz Makuch, Director of the Kraków Jewish Culture Festival, two individuals deeply committed to strengthening Polish Jewish life and promoting Jewish culture, will reflect on this year’s key events and stories. The discussion, moderated by Justyna Pawlak, of Reuters, will focus on current social challenges, as well as the responses from civic leaders, and the impact on Jewish and minority communities in Poland.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

PST: 11:00 a.m.

CST: 1:00 p.m.

EST: 2:00 p.m.

UK: 7:00 p.m.

CET: 8:00 p.m.

Israel: 9:00 p.m.

Janusz Makuch is the founder and director of the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. He organized the first edition in 1988 and later developed it into an annual, internationally recognized event. Currently, the festival spans 10 days and features more than 200 events presenting contemporary Jewish culture to an international audience of more than 30,000 people. In 2008 Janusz Makuch was awarded the Polonia Restituta Order and received the Irena Sendlerowa Award from the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture. In 2018, he was awarded the honorary Friend of Israel (Yakir Israel) title.

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 traveling 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 returned 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.

Justyna Pawlak is the Reuters bureau chief for Central Europe and the Nordics. Since joining Reuters in 1999, she has worked in Warsaw, London, Bucharest and Brussels, before returning to Poland in 2015. Throughout her career, she has focused on issues ranging from nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Europe’s sanctions policy and democratic backsliding in eastern parts of the European Union. She is a graduate of Columbia University Journalism School.