Cukunft Jewish Association

Cukunft Jewish Association is a Jewish non-profit NGO founded in Poland in 2014 by a group of Polish Jews with a purpose of shaping the contemporary Jewish Future in Eastern Europe by educating and integrating people of Jewish origin as well as combating antisemitism & all forms of social exclusion.

Location: Wrocław , Lower Silesia
Year founded: 2014

Description

MISSION:

Cukunft (means ‘Future’ in Yiddish) envisages a two-fold path of development for itself. Its primary goal is to shape the contemporary Jewish Future in Eastern Europe by supporting the growth of pluralistic and inclusive Jewish community in Poland and Lithuania. Cukunft runs its projects which aim at integrating and activating the local secular Jewish community (mainly Jews not associated within any Jewish organization and their families) such as ‘Wandering Shabbats and Festivals’ teaching how to celebrate Jewish holidays at home, Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club for all age groups, Jewish Cultural Club, Gan Shalom Kindergarten activities, Tzedakah and Mitzvah Days, Farida – Empowerment of Jewish women and girls focusing on Jewish female leaders.

Cukunft’s main goal is to stimulate the Jewish activism and entrepreneurship, marking the contemporary Jewish presence in Poland and Eastern Europe as well as promoting notions of diversity and inclusivity through Jewish culture and education.

HISTORY:

Cukunft Jewish Association was established by organizing Home-Made Rosh Hashanah Seder in September 2014 attended by 26 Jewish community members aged 2-70. Since that time, Cukunft runs 70-100 projects yearly, which aim at integrating and activating small secular Jewish communities in Lithuania and Poland, especially in the Lower Silesian Region of Poland (Wroclaw, Walbrzych, Legnica, Swidnica, Zary), Silesia (Katowice, Bielsko-Biala), Lodz, Lublin and Gdansk such as:

- GAN SHALOM Kindergarten activities and collecting of pre-school/school educational materials, books, satchels, sports costumes ect. (2015-2017),

- FARIDA - Female Activists Render Inclusive Democratic Agenda - Project empowering Jewish women and focusing on Jewish female leadership,

- LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE & THEATRE (2016 ROI Grassroots),

- TZEDAKAH DAY and International MITZVAH DAY (2014-2017) in support of Jewish and Polish families in need as well as Ukrainians in Poland and Syrian refugees in the Refugee Camp in Gevgelija, Macedonia,

- Jewish murals engaged in the Social Change in Poland - Marek Edelman, Magnus Hirschfeld, Jakub Rotbaum, Ida Kaminska, Wawerbergs, ect.

- Jewish concerts, exhibitions and films on contemporary Jewish life in Poland,

- Jewish Cultural Club (www.cukunft.pl), a monthly ongoing outing taking members of Jewish community to the cinema, theatre, opera, art exhibitions, concerts, trips to the ZOO attended by between 20 to 30 people on average,

- Lectures and workshops for schools, universities, seniors’ clubs and the Universities of the Third Age, Polish cultural institutions and Jewish Culture Festivals,

- Educational materials and books on Jewish culture,

- City games and Jewish tour guiding around Jewish Wroclaw,

- Trainings for future Jewish leaders in Poland,

- Home-Made Shabbats and Jewish Festivals,

- #CookJewishBeJewish seminars and workshops (2015 ROI Grassroots - Laurina Todesaite and Aleksandra Wilczura)

- “Bis a120!,” a project of celebrating birthdays of members of our Jewish community,

- Shabbatons and Shabbos Projects,

- Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club that helps to integrate all members of the Jewish community via sports activities and recreation.


Our future long-term plans involve expanding our activities in the fields of Jewish education, culture, social activism and community building by:

  • ISPIRATION KIBBUTZ 2018 - Polish-American-Israeli Platform Inspiring, Empowering and Mentoring Ideas based on Jewish Values in order to make them happen - coordinators: Aleksandra Wilczura (ROIer 2006, 2017), Jan Kirschenbaum,
  • Development of the 2nd LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE AND THEATRE (2017-2018) - coordinators: Aleksandra Wilczura (ROIer 2006, 2017), Robert Chmielewski,
  • GAN SHALOM Jewish kindergarten and provide sustainable support for other Jewish children in Poland from large families or with single parents - coordinators: Irena Kokusz (ROIer 2006), Pawel Lefek (2015 Paideia Incubator),
  • FARIDA - workshops, educational materials, coaching, mentoring, networking for female activists - coordinators: Chava Pacult, Aleksandra Wilczura, Joanna Grudzinska.

Who we are:

As members of Jewish orthodox community in Poland, who are secular Jews, we are looking for a place for development of our secular Jewish creativity and activism, where we could meet other members of the Global Jewish community as well as people interested in the Jewish culture. We miss the place like Żydowski Dom Kultury (Jewish Cultural Centre) or Еврейский культурный центр in Russian, where we could come with our partners and children, our parents, grandparents and non-Jewish friends, where we could learn through work or spend free time drinking coffe, chatting and just having fun together in a cosy place.

Today as Jewish professionals and young parents, men and women aged 21-62, well educated in Poland, Europe, USA and Israel, we decided to create such a place on our own for our loved ones, a totally new Jewish space designated to all members of the Jewish community in Poland and Jewish tourists searching for a friendly Jewish harbor in Wroclaw, next to our beautiful Zum Weißen Storch synagogue where Abraham Geiger lived and established Reform Judaism. Most of Cukunft members are social activists by born, artists, musicians, Jewish dreamers who are engaged in trade and business since Yiddishe Kopf, a practical mind, is a necessity in every Jewish life. This is all us. At Cukunft we don't affraid of making Jewish dreams happen. All Cukunft 's projects are the best examples.

Why we are here:

Cukunft Jewish Association is looking for financial support in order to develop INSPIRATION KIBBUTZ Project for young adults from Central Europe, Israel and USA. Where they could create Jewish projects together - social and cultural, organize exhibitions, performances, workshops and open lectures on Jewish history, culture, music, art, theatre, cuisine or whatever they might be interested in with Jewish Values content.

'THE INSPIRATION KIBBUTZ' project in the new unbrella initiative of Cukunft Jewish Association to bring closer Jewish communities living in areas vital to the existence and history of the Jewish people at present and in the past – Central Europe, Israel and North America. Since the State of Israel will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2018, and Poland its 100 years of National Independance (1918-2018), we believe that the time has come to fully acknowledge the contribution of Central European Jewish culture to their restoration.

The first Israeli Knesset comprised almost entirely of Central European, particularly Polish Jews, whose decisions shaped the initial outlook of the Jewish State. The Jewish State had since developed its own rich and unique culture successfully embracing and blending heritage of various Jewish groups that subsequently made Aliyah – Maghrebi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Sephardi Jews, Yemenite Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and Jews from the former Soviet Union.

However, while doing so, it has somewhat lost touch with its own Askhenazi roots – Central European Jewish culture that left its profound mark not only on early Israeli society, but most importantly on North American Jewish communities, that are predominantly descendants of Central European Jews. Central Europe (understood by us as Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) is a place of not only the most horrid chapter in Jewish history - the Holocaust – took place, but also the craddle of Askhenazi Jewish civiliazation, the birthplace of every significand political and religious Jewish movement including: Zionism, Haskalah, Progressive Judaism, Chasidism and the Bund.

Most famous Jewish intellectuals and change makers – Theodor Herzl, David Ben Gurion, Rosa Luxemburg, Hannah Arendt and Andy Warhol (to name but a few) were all born there. We want to celebrate their heritage by bringing together outstanding contemporary Jewish activists and change makers from Central Europe, Israel and North America. We believe that by studying the legacy they share together they will be able to become beacon of hope and inspiration for their respective Jewish communities, which in the age of social media and low-cost flights are rapidly becoming a GLOBAL JEWISH COMMUNITY.

Within 'THE INSPIRATION KIBBUTZ' project we would love to create a friendly and accessible space for organizing FARIDA - empowering trainings combine with mentoring for Jewish women and girls, developing the 2nd LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE, GAN SHALOM Jewish Kindergarten activities and other projects of young Jews searching for inspiration, motivation, practical experience and professional mentoring in realization of their Jewish Ideas/Dream Projects.

We want to open an open and friendly place to everyone where we can everyday meet, learn and express our Jewishness in various ways. We would like to create an open space especially for young adults who are not active in Jewish community. We would like to support them in their personal and professional development, promote them among other members of the Global Jewish community and inspire them to grow and become strong in Jewishness they like.

Development of Hasmonea Jewish Sports Clubs in Poland. Jewish Sports Education and Sports Activities For Members of the Jewish Community Of Poland

About

Jewish Sport in the Poland is not a new concept. Hasmonea itself as a Jewish Sports Club was founded in 1908 in Lviv, and before World War II it was the second largest and the most successful sports club in Poland. Unfortunately, due to Shoah the Jewish sport activities completely disappeared on Polish territories for 50 years. In the late 90s XX century a small organization called Maccabi Poland was established in Gdansk in order to enable Jewish leaders of its community to join Maccabiah, but covering only the Jewish inhabitants of this city, bypassing the remaining Jewish communities in Poland. In 2014 a totally new organization was established in Warsaw - Maccabi Warszawa but once again also covering only Warsaw Jewish and Polish adults (excluding children, youth and seniors).

In such a situation in Poland the Cukunft Jewish Association decided to establish a program for those who were excluded - all members of the local Jewish communities, people of different age, sex, gender, religious affiliation or sexual orientation, mainly not affiliated in any other Jewish organization in Poland introducing regular sports education and sports activities. The name of the project is Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club established in 2014 and led by Cukunft Jewish Association. First in Wroclaw and Lower Silesia Region. And then in Lodz. Its aim is an integration of all members of Jewish communities in Poland and promotion of healthy lifestyle without distinction of age or sex.

The project involves runing Hasmonea Jewish Sports Clubs focus on organization of regular Jewish sports activities (basketball, volleyball, chess, badminton, bridge, horse riding and shooting trainings, joga, swimming, exercises for seniors) for all Jews in local Jewish communities (Wroclaw, Lodz, Krakow, Katowice, Lublin, Poznan, Gdansk) of Poland and 6 sports shabbatons/trainings away in order to integrate Jewish sportsmen with other local Jewish communities and spread among them the idea of a healthy lifestyle and Jewish integration through sport and outdoor activities.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

  • Jewish formal and informal education of Polish Jews mainly not associated within any Jewish community or Jewish secular organization in Poland,
  • Sports education for Jewish children, youth, adults and seniors,
  • Integration wmembers of Jewish communities in Poland through sport,
  • Promoting sport and healthy lifestyle in different age groups among Polish Jews,
  • Inclusion of Jews and people of Jewish origin to vivid life of the world Jewish community,
  • Creating the open and inclusive space for all Jews without distinction of age, sex, education, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.
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    Program Description

    Expected quantitative results:

  • Establishment at least 6 local inclusive Jewish sports club, teams or groups open for people of Jewish origin interested in sport, healthy lifestyle and different ways of Jewish integration,
  • Finding and Educating local Jewish sports leaders,
  • Searching for new Jewish sports talents in Poland and develop or help in development of their sports skills,
  • At least 40 Jews will participate between January and December 2017 (12 months) in the framework of regular sports activities (basketball, valleyball, chess, football, fusal, bridge, shooting, badminton, table tennis, squash, riding horses, joga, swimming, ect) in small Jewish communities of Poland,
  • Organization monthly lectures on history of Jewish sport,
  • Organization at tleast 6 weekend sports shabbatons/trainings away in different local Jewish communities,
  • Providing basic sports equipment for local sports groups,
  • Providing sports costumes for local sports groups.

  • Expected qualitative results:

  • Implementation of this project will enable launch and promotion of Jewish sports activities among members of small Jewish communities in Poland,
  • Will establish good relations between Jewish people of different age, sex, religious affiliation (orthodox and secular), affiliated or not within any Jewish community or organization,
  • Improve knowledge about history of Jewish sport and sport in general,
  • Improve physical fitness and sports skills all participants,
  • improve knowledge about history of Jewish sport and sport in general
  • Develop new ways of spending free time together in the Jewish communities,
  • Build and strengthen real Jewish socio-cultural life in Poland not an artificial constructivist formation.
  • Beneficiaries:

    At least 130 people yearly (Jewish women, men, children, youth, adults and seniors, involved in regulars sports activities),members of Jewish communities and Jewish sports organisation, and all members of local Jewish communities interested in sports activism and healthy lifestyle. Aproximetly 300 Jews from small Jewish communities (Wroclaw, Lodz, Katowice, Lublin, Krakow, Pozan, Szczecin and Gdansk)

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    Demonstrated Need

    For last 2-4 years, we can observe in Poland a new fashion for sports activism and a healthy lifestyle. It was born in response to the increasingly concern of Polish doctors and health professionals regarding the public health (especially obese children and seniors) and well-being of Poles in general living in everyday rush, tense and stress.These problems also relate to people of Jewish origin living in Poland. Especially those in need rised in indigent families that cannot efford for extra sports activities and healthy lifestyle.

    Next year in Israel will be organize the Jewish Olympiad – 20th Maccabiah Games. It is the best occasion to promote Jewish sports activities and healthy lifestyle among members of the Jewish communities in Poland. It would be also a perfect inspiration for starting exercising or formal and informal education on Jewish sport.

    Usually in other countries the responsibility of establishing and leading Jewish sports organisations in Jewish communities is undertaken by World Maccabi Movement. Unfortunately, Political Transition and fall of communism enabled uncontrolled formation of Jewish organizations in Poland, including sports, as it was in the late 90s when established in Gdansk a few Jewish sports organizations - Maccabi Foundation, Maccabi Poland Foundation or Maccabi Association that prevented a creation of a genuine federation of Jewish sports organizations in future. Especially an Umbrella-Organization, which supports the establishment and operation of Jewish sports groups,teams or clubs, or simply supporting sports activities, recreation and a healthy lifestyle in Jewish communities.

    For now Polish legal restrictions prevent the creation of a new Jewish sports umbrella-organization under logo of Maccabi Poland, because it is in the private hands of people living out of Poland. Also Makkabi Warszawa Sports Club is not officially part of Maccabi Poland since nobody can join this organization. Thus the establishemnt of Jewish clubs, sports teams or groups under a logo of Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club would allow the development of Jewish sporting activities despite these restrictions. Via establishing Jewish sports groups in small Jewish communities of Polandand organizing regular sports activities for their members the Cukunft Jewish Association's aim is to actively answer for contemporary needs of Polish Jews and change negative trends regarding their health condition, especially among children and, youth and seniors.

    Cukunft Jewish Associatio's goal is to develop Jewish sports teams and clubs in local Jewish Communities of Poland, help Jewish sportsmen to develop their skills and invest in new sports talents among our children and youth, especially those that cannot afford for trainings and sports equipment. But Cukunft Jewish Association's goal is not only to give a chance or opportunity to improve health condition and develop sports talents in other local Jewish communities in Poland but also stimulate cooperation and integration between members of local Jewish communities and just have fun together.

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    Program Accomplishments

    In 2016 the Cukunft Jewish Association's most notable accomplishments:

  • Attracting more new Jewish members from different age groups.
  • Organization of Jewish holidays for the secular members of Jewish community of Wroclaw - Tu Bishvat, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana, Chanukah.
  • Continuation of the organization of Shabbat dinners under the project "Wandering Homemade Shabbats”.
  • Continuation of Hebrew language, culture and Jewish/Israeli cuisine workshops open for public.
  • Painting a historic mural of Marek Edelman and continuation of this project in the Secular Jewish Space of Wroclaw.
  • Organization of Wroclaw celebration of 73. anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
  • Participation in the Kaleidoscope of Cultures Project and Picnic at Slodowa Island.
  • The organization of the exhibition devoted to Jewish residents of Wroclaw - "Zukunft-Cukunft: Breslauers yesterday and today" in cooperation with Rabbi Stephen Fuchs *Former President of World Union of Progressive Judaism) and Victoria Fuchs.and Soraya Post, EU representative.
  • Continuation of the cooperation with the Festival of Equal Rights in the framework of so-called Jewish Section.
  • The establishment of the Theater Section of Cukunft’s members.
  • Continuation of work on the establishment of the Gan Shalom Jewish kindergarten.
  • The development of sports and recreational activities for members of Jewish community in Lower Silesia within Hasmonea Sports Section led by Cukunft Jewish Association seeking to create Jewish teams of basketball, volleyball, football, table tennis, chess and badminton, which will transform into Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club.
  • Acquisition of membership for Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club led by Cukunft Jewish Association in the national and world Maccabi Movement.

  • In 2015, the Cukunft Jewish Association implemented numerous educational and socio-cultural events, lectures and workshops for both Jews and non-Jews living in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Sweden and Israel interested in the broader Jewish culture and history of Polish Jews:

    PROJECTS FOR EDUCATION & INTEGRATION OF MEMBERS OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN 2015

  • 5 Shabbat dinners under the "Wandering Homemade Shabbats” Project.
  • Celebrations of Jewish holidays - Rosh Hashana, Chanukah Family Party, Purim Family Party.
  • 10 meetings for members of the Jewish community in a philharmonic, theaters, cinemas, opera, galleries, museums as part of the "Jewish Cultural Club - JCC Wroclaw” Project.
  • 5 birthday parties celebrating birthdays of old or lonely members of the Jewish community of Wroclaw as a part of “Bis 120! Jewish Birthday" Project.
  • International summer seminar #CookJewishBeJewish in Vilnius dedicated to education and promotion of the culinary heritage of Lithuanian and Polish Jews in cooperation with the Lithuanian-Israeli startup of Laurina Todesaite (Eat & Travel) within the ROI Community Grasroots Project (13-16.08.2015).
  • International Jewish seminar in Krakow and Auschwitz in cooperation with the Ukrainian Union of Jewish Students as a part of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Camps (25-27.01.2015).
  • EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIO-CULTURAL PROJECTS IN POLISH PUBLIC SPACE POPULARIZING THE SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL HERITAGE OF JEWS, PROMOTING TOLERANCE AND COOPERATION OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES, NATIONS AND RELIGIONS AND, PROJECTS COUNTERACTING ANY MANIFESTATIONS OF INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION, ESPECIALLY ANTI-SEMITISM AND OTHER ATTITUDES THAT UNDERMINE HUMAN DIGNITY

  • Acion Hejt Stop! - Painting over hate speech in the public space of Wroclaw in cooperation with Shalom Aleichem Primary School - coordination: Aleksandra Wilczura.
  • The March and Festival of Equal Rights in Wroclaw – leading Jewish Section - Coordination: Jan Kirschenbaum, Joanna Grudzinska.
  • Hebrew and Yiddish Lessons, Jewish culture, Jewish Art, Jewish Theater and Jewish/Israeli Cooking Workshops - Project "Jewish Wroclaw on a Plate Live!" - Subsidy from Small Initiatives (Mane Inicjatywy) and Lower Silesia Civic Initiatives Fund (FIO) - coordination: Aleksandra Wilczura.
  • Organization of 2nd Ttzedakah Day (Jewish Charity) in Wroclaw, as a part of the World Mitzvah Day, in cooperation with JCC Krakow, JCC Warsaw, TSKZ Lodz and Mitzvah Day 365 UK - coordination: Joanna Grudzinska, Aleksandra Wilczura.
  • Shabbaton in Gdansk - educational and integrating weekend for members of the Jewish communities in Poland in cooperation with the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, the Jewish Community in Gdansk and ZGWn.
  • Shabbaton in nodz - educational and integrating weekend for members of the Jewish communities in Poland in cooperation with the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, the Jewish Community in nodz, ZGWn and HaMakom.
  • 2 lectures for the University of the Third Age – Aleksandra Wilczura.
  • 3 lectures in New Horizons Cinema – Jan Kirschenbaum, Aleksandra Wilczura.
  • ASSISTANCE IN EDUCATION OF CUKUNFT’S MEMBERS IN 2015

  • Marcin Szternberg - International Leadership Seminar - Nahum Goldmann Fellowship in Israel, learning leadership skills within the Jewish community (June 2015).
  • Justyna Korab - International Leadership Seminar - Nahum Goldmann Fellowship in Israel, learning leadership skills within the Jewish community (June 2015).
  • Aleksandra Wilczura - International Leadership Seminar - Nahum Goldmann Fellowship in Israel, learning leadership skills within the Jewish community (June 2015).
  • Pawen Lefek – Paideia Incubator 2015 International Program in Stockholm - a project of the Gan Shalom Jewish kindergarten in Wroclaw – Cukunft’s members covered part of the travel costs (August 2015).

  • FINANCIAL SUPPORT GRANTED BY THE MEMBERS OF CUKUNFT IN 2015
  • 1) 750 PLN – TSKn Wrocnaw - donation for the renovation of the kitchen at Mennicza 1/3 St. Wroclaw – donors: Kacper Kocur, Jan Kirschenbaum, Aleksandra Wilczura (24.09.2015) 2) 262 PLN – subsidy for travel to Stockholm for Pawen Lefek - donors: Jan Kirschenbaum, Aleksandra Wilczura (24.08.2015). 3) 150 PLN – subsidy for summer footwear for poor members of the Jewish community in Wroclaw – donors: Joanna Grudzinska, Jan Kirschenbaum, Aleksandra Wilczura. 4) 400 PLN –
  • subsidy for tickets for the theater, opera, cinema, zoo and shabbatons – donors: Jan Kirschenbaum, Aleksandra Wilczura. 5) 700 PLN – subsidy for Syrian and Ukrainian refugees – Wrocnaw Welcomes Refugees Coalition – donations of anonymous Cukunft’s members (December 2015).

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    How do you measure the success of your program?

    The success of Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club is measured by:

    - increasing number of participants regulary participating in local sports activities,

    - increasing number of participants in sports shabbatons/trainings away in small communities,

    - engagement of participants in organization and coordination of activities,

    - increasing number of sports equipment,

    - increasing number of sports costumes,

    - increasing number of local Jewish groups interesting in establishing in their cities similar Jewish sports groups like Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club,

    - increasing number of sports competition that Hasmonea Jewish Sposts Club participates in,

    - recognition of Polish NGOs, Jewish organizations in Poland and Europe.

    There is no doubt that the program of Cukunft Jewish Association is very successful. In a relatively very short time we found Jewish people interested in sport who exercise regularly with us (childrenwith parents, youth, students and seniors). Together, we organize lectures on sports disciplines, workshops and grouping away, also open to members of other Jewish communities in Poland. In the short time we created the very functional structure of sports organization, and started to share responsibilities with other members of the Hasmonea Jewish Sports Club. We also prepared a long-term strategy and hired a professional coaching staff, we have a logo and sports clothes.

    Such achievements cannot boast of any of the existing Jewish organizations or sports teams.

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    Lower Silesian Festival of Jewish Culture

    About

    In October 2016 the Municipal Office of Walbrzych along with the Socio-Cultural Association of Jews in Walbrzych (TSKZ Walbrzych) organized the Open Jewish New Year Day at the Stara Kopalnia Centre. The event included a concert of Jewish music by Klezmerado Band, degustation of the Jewish cuisine and a performance of Israeli Dances performed by pupils from Janusz Korczak Primary School no. 6 in Walbrzych. The event gathered 300 people. In 2017 TSKZ Walbrzych invited the Cukunft Jewish Association to continue, develop and lead this initiative towards a full project of the LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE that would be accompanied by lectures, workshops, concerts and exhibitions led by members of the Jewish community of Lower Silesia devoted to the history and culture of the Lower Silesian Jews and the Jewish heritage of Walbrzych.

    As the Cukunft Jewish Association we decided to apply for financial support in Poland and abroad to undertake this challenge and support the local Jewish communities and secular local Jewish organizations in Wroclaw, Walbrzych, Dzierżoniow, Legnica, Swidnica and Zary. In 2017 the project of the LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE was organized by Aleksandra Wilczura (ROIer 2006) as its Director thanks to 2017 ROI GrassRoots Initiative recieved from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Famimly Foundation. It was organized under honour aspicies of the Lower Silesian Voievoid, the Marchal of the Lower Silesia, the President of Walbrzych and Mayors of Dzierzoniow and Zary.

    The project of the LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE in 2018 includes numerous activities such as: exhibitions, film shows, Shabbat dinner, Jewish cooking workshops and degustation, lectures, workshops for children, teenagers and adults, Jewish music concerts, Jewish and Israeli dances and theatre performances, workshops of Jewish professions threatened with extinction. Cukunft’s idea is to involve as many members of the Jewish community from Poland, Central Europe and Israel as possible in order to integrate local Jewish groups with the global Jewish community as well as non-Jewish neigbours interested in the Jewish cultural heritage, set up a cultural and interfaith dialogue in practice and actively work on the preservation of the Jewish heritage of Lower Silesia, Poland and Europe.

    Cukunft's aim is to continue this project in years to come as a part of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) celebrations in Wroclaw, Walbrzych, Legnica, Dzierzoniow and Zary (Lower Silesia, Eastern Poland). The Jewish Culture Festival is open to public and brings a clear social and cultural benefit both for the local Jewish communities as well as citizens of Lower Silesia Region. It will be also an ideal form of promoting the Lower Silesia in Poland and abroad.

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    What is the mission and purpose of this program?

    1) Support small Jewish communities and local Jewish organizations in the socio-cultural activities in Lower Silesian Region of Poland (Wroclaw, Walbrzych, Legnica, Dzierżoniów and Zary),

    2)Stimulate new Jewish socio-cultural activism among young, assimilated members of the Jewish community in Poland, Central/Eastern Europe and Israel,

    3) Informal Jewish education based on the Jewish Values of young Jewish adults, not affiliated to any Jewish organization in Poland,

    4) Integration of young Jewish adults from Poland, Central/Eastern Europe and Israel,

    5) preservation of knowledge and skills among members of the local Jewish community (Jewish Knowledge <anagement) regarding traditional Jewish professions threatened with extinction (paper-cut, caligraphy, ceramics, artisanal handicraft, mohel, shochet, chevra kadisha, ect.)

    6) Promoting tolerance and cooperation between people of different nationalities, cultures in Lower Silesia, Poland, Central/Eastern Europe and Israel,

    7) Promotion of the local Jewish heritage of Regained Territories (Ziemie Odzyskane) and Jewish culture of Lower Silesia – focused on history of Wroclaw, Walbrzych, Legnica, Dzierżoniów, Ziebice and Zary after WWII as a part of Jidiszer Jiszev in Niderszlezje – Jewish Settlement in Lower Silesia) and its connections to the Jewish heritage of German and Russian Speaking Jewry,

    8) Strengthen Polish and European civil society, that is open for Jewish cultural activism as its integral component,

    9) Innovative countering against intolerance and discrimination, Anti-Semitism and any other forms of social exclusion through informal anti-discrimination education based on the Jewish Values.

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    Program Description

    During 1-2 weekend-long festival (September 2018) in various cities of Lower Silesia we want to organize:

    1. Workshops with specialists in Jewish traditional professions at risk of extinction from Israel, Central/Eastern Europe and Northen America,

    2. Jewish calligraphy, Jewish paper-cut and Jewish ceramics workshops,

    3. Jewish / Israeli dance workshops and performances,

    4. Jewish / Israeli cooking workshops and degustation of the Jewish cuisine (Cukunft / Laurina Todesaite from #CookJewishBeJewish),

    5. Lectures on Jewish history and culture the region of the Lower Silesia, Poland, Central / Eastern Europe and Israel,

    6. Opening tematical exhibitions,

    7. Anti-discrimination Psycho-Drama Workshops for schools, teachers and seniors,

    8. Jewish theatrical performances – if possible – in a cooperation with a the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw and the former Jewish Theatre in Walbrzych,

    9. Polish Roots of Israel - meetings with the representatives of the local Jewish communities with Polish Landsmanschaft in Israel, Polish-Israeli artists, authors, ect.,

    10. Open Shabbat dinner or Rosh Hashanah Seders led by Cukunft and other local Jewish organizations,

    11. Concerts of Jewish music,

    12. Jewish film shows.

    Target Group for the Project:

    Members of all Jewish community of Poland and their families, representatives of Jewish organizations based in the Lower Silesia - Jewish community, TSKZ [Walbrzych, Zary, Swidnica, Legnica, Nowa Sol, Zgorzelec, Polanica] and Cukunft Jewish Association along with local Polish citizens interested in the Jewish culture (pupils, students and teachers), foreign tourists interested in the cultural and interfaith dialogue as well as the multicultural heritage of the Lower Silesia from Germany, Czech Republic and Israel. We are expecting at least 500-700 participants.

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    Demonstrated Need

    The Lower Silesia, a region in Western Poland has one big Jewish community in Wroclaw and four small Jewish communities in Walbrzych, Legnica, Dzierzoniow and Zary that do not have enough young people to run their cultural and religious activities on a daily basis. The project of the Lower Silesian Jewish Culture Festival aims to draw attention to the history and Jewish culture of Lower Silesia and to support the small Jewish communities of the region by providing them a meaningful Jewish experience around Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) that will bring together members of small Jewish communities and all Jewish organizations in the Lower Silesia Region, reach out to young, un-affiliated Jews in the towns and their families, and give Polish audience a chance to learn more about the Jewish heritage of Lower Silesia and Poland as well as the contemporary Jewish culture of Eastern/Central Europe and Israel.

    This project helps to preserve the memory on the Jewish citizens of the Lower Silesia (German-Polish-Russian speakin Jewry) and their important input in the multicultural heritage of Poland and Eastern/Central Europe and Israel. It is important both for the small Jewish communities, global Jewish community a. Especially in the spotlight of rising intolerance and Anti-Semitism in Europe.

    The LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE is the initiative of Cukunft Jewish Association established successfully in 2017 by Cukunft's President, Aleksandra Wilczura (ROIer 2006,2017) to bring closer Jewish communities living in areas vital to the existence and history of the Jewish people at present and in the past – Central/Eastern Europe, Israel and North America. Since the State of Israel will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2018, and Poland its 100 years of National Independance (1918-2018), we believe that the time has come to fully acknowledge the contribution of Central European Jewish culture to their restoration through focusing on innovations in informal Jewish education for adults, focusing on integration and networking of local Jewish communities with the Global Jewish community and Israel.

    At Cukunft we believe that the biggest challange of our times for the Jewish communities in Poland, Central/Eastern Europe, Northern America and Israel is acculturation and defining the Jewish identity anew. The LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE is Cukunft's answer for these needs. The demographic depression in Europe works especially against Jewish population, that is why support of young Jewish adults, integration of small local Jewish communities with global Jewish community and Israel as well as wise knowledge management regarding traditional Jewish professions threatened with extinction are so important in order to preserve the knowledge, skills and heritage of Jewish culture for next generations.

    Through this project we try to establish an innovative connection to somewhat lost touch with our own Askhenazi roots – Central European Jewish culture that left its profound mark not only on Polish and early Israeli society, but most importantly on North American Jewish communities, that are predominantly descendants of Central European Jews. Central Europe (understood by us as Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) is a place of not only the most horrid chapter in Jewish history - the Holocaust – took place, but also the craddle of Askhenazi Jewish civiliazation, the birthplace of every significand political and religious Jewish movement including: Zionism, Haskalah, Reform and Progressive Judaism, Chasidism and the Bund.

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    Program Accomplishments

    In 2017 Cukunft established successfully the First LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE that gathered in Wroclaw, Dzierzoniow, Walbrzych and Zary around 700-1000 people and integrate small Jewish communities in the region (http://cukunft.pl/en/new-jewish-year-5778-rosh-has...) as well as the secular Jewish Community in Tel Aviv - 'Halal Panui - Free Space' (http://cukunft.pl/en/hoshana-rabbah-of-halal-panui...)

    The project of the LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE was organized under honour aspicies of the Lower Silesian Voivod, the Marchal of the Lower Silesia, the President of Walbrzych, Mayors of Dzierzoniow and Zary. It was prepared thanks to the generous support of the PAIDEIA Alumni Grant, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and ROI Grassroots, the Polish ministry of Interior and Aministration, TSKZ, AJDC, Jewish community of Wroclaw and many local Polish organizations. The project of LOWER SILESIAN FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE was also appreciated by the JOODS Humanitarian Fund and Halal Panui - Tel Aviv, Project whom we will organize next edition in 2018.

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    How do you measure the success of your program?

    - Increase number of participants (2016 - 300 people, 2017-700 people, 2018-700 people or more).

    - revival of the traditional Jewish professions in Poland and Central/Eastern Europe.

    - Change in perceived self-efficacy and skills of training participants (measured before the trainings and afterwards).

    - Number of views of the clips from the trainings.

    - Number of media mentions - press / internet articles, and social media.

    - Number of Polish and Jewish officials who participated in the event.

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