A Jewish revival in Lodz, Poland

A Jewish revival in Lodz, Poland

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Poland was home to more than 3,000,000 Jews. Ninety percent of Polish Jewry was annihilated in the Holocaust, and post-war Communist oppression caused many of Poland’s remaining Jews to flee. Those who stayed often had to hide their identities.

But since the downfall of the Iron Curtain, and Poland’s transformation into a democracy, an increasing number of Poles have begun to discover their families’ Jewish roots. These include young people whose Jewish parents or grandparents were put up for adoption with Polish families and institutions in a desperate attempt to save them from the Nazi onslaught nearly seven decades ago.

Raised as Polish Catholics, many have only recently learned of their true Jewish identity, leading them to play an active role in rebuilding Jewish life. In some instances, entire communities are experiencing a Jewish revival, such as we are seeing in Lodz, Poland.

Shosh Chovav, a Shavei Israel volunteer who has spent much time in Lodz in the past, recently spent two months in Poland teaching Hebrew and Jewish traditions to the local Jewish community, Shosh shared some photos with us of the intensive activities that took place in Lodz during these two months. Among them were the Hebrew classes she taught for the children, workshops, inspirational meetings with young people from Israel who were visiting the city, and discussions with the community leaders intended to improve the outreach and educational work in the community.

But the most moving event of all was the emotional mezuzah-setting ceremony in the home of the community president.

We look forward to seeing how this community will continue to flourish and blossom and wish them the best.

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Esther Surikova
Esther Surikova
esther@shavei.org