I first became involved with the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow when I attended the Festival events in 1992. It was an incredible discovery for me, a place where I could experience an immense amount of Jewish culture in the course of nine event-filled days. The fact that these events took place in Poland, in the formerly Jewish quarter in Cracow, made this event more powerful for me. My family roots are primarily in Poland, and I lived in Ukraine and Poland before immigrating to the United States in 1961. Returning there to hear the music and experience the culture of my people in the same synagogues and streets that Polish Jews once flourished was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I loved it so much that I continued to attend every year, and came to know the Festivalís director, Janusz Makuch, his staff, and countless performers and participants very well.

Over the following years, many of friends joined me at this annual pilgrimage to the Festival. The vice-president and treasurer of our organization is Michael Sztejnberg, who has been a close personal friend since 1959, when we attended the Jewish school in Wroclaw, Poland together. As our personal involvement with the Festival continued to grow, we finally decided in 2002 to form a non-profit organization to be able to help the Festival and share our knowledge and appreciate of it. We are very passionate about the mission of the Festival, and its importance to the people of Poland, Central and Western Europe, Israel, the United States, and elsewhere, especially in these difficult times.

We welcome your interest and participation in supporting this truly historic celebration of Jewish culture. --Michael Steiman, Friends of the Cracow Jewish Culture Festival President.


Photo/Design: Pawel Mazur

“The Klezmer music that has been made at the Festival over the years -- on stage, at dance workshops, and in the free Klezmer duo improvisations -- has grown and deepened, and there is a very powerful response to it. Where else in the world is there a contemporary audience in the thousands for Klezmer music, for ultimately Yiddish song?”

-- Michael Alpert, Ethnologist

Copyright 2005 Friends of Cracow Jewish Culture Festival, All Rights Reserved.