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November 16th, 2017

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We are proud to share that our School of Dialogue program was among the 13 European projects on the shortlist for 2017 Evens Prize for Peace Education. The prize is awarded during the Conflict Matters – a major European conference organized by the Evens Foundation exploring the potential of conflict in the process of individual and social transformation.

This year the conference took place in London on November 8-10. For Forum’s representatives – Executive Board Member Zuzanna Radzik and School of Dialogue Project Coordinators Julia Machnowska and Izabela Meyza – participating in the conference was a unique opportunity to partake in meaningful discussions, reflect on different strategies to address major educational challenges and share thoughts with fellow educators, teachers and researchers from all over Europe.

November 10th, 2017

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We are pleased to announce that Ireneusz Socha, a Leader of Dialogue from Dębica, has been nominated to the Polin Award 2017. The prize is awarded by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews to people, organizations and institutions working towards preserving the memory of Polish Jews. Ireneusz Socha is recognized for his activism in taking care of the Jewish heritage of Dębica, especially his initiatives aimed at saving the town’s Jewish cemetery and former ghetto area. Congratulations!

You may read more about Ireneusz Socha here.

photo: M.Śmiarowski

November 9th, 2017

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Zuzanna Radzik, Forum for Dialogue’s Executive Board Member, participated in the 2017 Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education that took place on November 1-3 at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA. This year’s conference dove into the controversial role of the Roman Catholic Church and its relationship to the events of the Holocaust. During the final session, focused on the changing nature of the Catholic/Jewish relations, in the part devoted to the issue of the Post-Holocaust Theology and its attitude towards Jews, Zuzanna Radzik gave a lecture entitled “Political Correctness or revolution? Theological consequences of the post Vatican II Council theology of Judaism in the Polish context”.

photo: M.Śmiarowski

November 7th, 2017

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At the end of October a group from the Park Avenue Synagogue visited a School of Dialogue in Brzesko, a finalist at 2016 School of Dialogue Gala. After a warm welcome and preliminary ice-breaking workshops, the students took their guest on a walking tour of Jewish heritage sites and presented the findings of their research. At the town’s Jewish cemetery the meeting’s participants lit candles in a gesture of commemoration. It is always very moving to see this type of intercultural dialogue happen!

photo: J.Machnowska

October 29th, 2017

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We have finished a week-long study visit to Poland for our guests from United States. A dinner with Andrzej Folwarczny, President of the Forum, opened the study trip on Monday, October 16. On Tuesday and Wednesday participants toured Warsaw and city’s Jewish sites, met with Ambassador of Israel to Poland Anna Azari, journalist Konstanty Gebert and representatives of Warsaw Jewish Community.

On Thursday in Grabów they met with students involved with the School of Dialogue program there. After a warm welcome and preliminary ice-breaking workshops, the students took their guest on a walking trip of Jewish heritage sites of their town. Then the study visit participants travelled to Łódź for a tour of Jewish history and piano recital in Łódź Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic.

photo: M.Piekarska, J.Szkarłat

The last part of the study trip started with a visit to the Memorial and Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau and then Shabbat dinner in Chrzanów, attended by Leaders of Dialogue, local activists working for the preservation of Jewish heritage: Kamil Bogusz from Chrzanów, Justyna Biernat from Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Joanna Lorenc from Bieruń and Michał Lorenc from Rymanów. The next day, participants had an opportunity to enjoy a tour of Chrzanów Jewish sites guided by Kamil Bogusz.

After the meeting focused on Jewish-Christian relations led by Zuzanna Radzik, Forum’s Executive Board Member, participants travelled to Krakow to took part in Kazimierz Jewish Quarter sightseeing and meetings with representatives of local Jewish community as well as scholars affiliated with Jagiellonian University.

We would like to thank all the participants for this meaningful journey!

photo: M.Piekarska, J.Szkarłat

October 27th, 2017

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In October Forum for Dialogue’s representatives met with two groups of study trips to Poland participants. On October 14 towns of Otwock and Karczew were visited by American, Canadian and Australian students and professors from The American University of Paris, institution providing an American-style university education for degree-seeking students from around the world. The group focuses its research and learning on the memory about the Holocaust and was very interested in the question how this issue manifests on the local level in contemporary Poland. After the brief presentation of the Forum’s educational activities and the School of Dialogue program, visit participants met at local history museum with Monika Czub, Leader of Dialogue active in Otwock and Karczew.

She guided them on a tour of the towns’ Jewish history and explained her initiatives aimed at commemorating the local Jewish community annihilated during the World War II.

The group of visitors affiliated with the Beth El Synagogue met with Forum for Dialogue’s representatives on October 24 as a part of their Eastern Europe tour, during which they visited Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Warsaw with a program offering ample opportunities for meeting and conversations with members of local Jewish communities and spokepersons representing organizations working towards promoting tolerance, intercultural dialogue and remembrance of once-thriving Central European Jewish life.

photo: J.Szkarłat

October 25th, 2017

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September 23rd, 2017

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Last weekend, September 15-17, Forum for Dialogue organized the third Local Leaders of Dialogue Conference. These annual meetings – added to the Leaders of Dialogue program in 2015 – are aimed at creating a convenient space in which Leaders could interact and integrate, share experiences and strengthen mutual bonds in a group supportive of each other. It is an opportunity to present their work to others, and exchange ideas, solutions and experiences on the ground.

This year the event was held in Podkarpackie province and hosted by Leaders active in that region: Adam, Joanna and Michał Lorenc and Magdalena Zykiert in Rymanów, Jacek Koszczan in Dukla and Jerzy Dębiec in Nowy Żmigród. The three locations and the sheer number of hosts provided a unique insight into different challenges and approaches to commemoration of Jewish past, and reconnecting ties between descendants of Polish Jews abroad and contemporary Poland.

In Rymanów, the main focus of the team of activists affiliated with “Spotkanie Rymanów” Association is to facilitate the dialogue between the descendants of Rymanów’s Jews and contemporary residents of the town. They hold gatherings which give participants an opportunity to learn about each other and share stories. Members of “Spotkanie Rymanów” team not only managed to create a wide network of contacts, but also secured support for their activities from local authorities and the parish priest. During the Rymanów section of the Conference program, the participants had a chance to familiarize themselves with preserved material heritage of the Rymanów’s Jewish community: cemetery with ohalim of famous Rymanów’s tzadikim, synagogue and remaining unique urban layout of the typical Galician shtetl. They also saw the effects of the association’s international cooperation. One such example is the Malka’s House, which became a museum of Rymanów’s Jewish community. It was renovated thanks to the generous support of Malka Shacham Doron, granddaughter of the former owner of the house. Leaving Rymanów, one of the participants remarked jokingly that it seems that the Rymanów Leaders know all the descendants of Rymanów Jews.

photo J.Szkarłat

In Dukla, the local Leader of Dialogue, Jacek Koszczan shared with the group the details of the prolonged formal process involved in obtaining permits and funding to erect a monument commemorating the town’s Jewish population. This was incredibly useful for those among the Leaders, who themselves are planning their own remembrance projects. In Dukla, the group visited the ruined synagogue, and heard about the plans for its restoration, which date back as far as the 1950s and 1960s.

photo J.Szkarłat

Finally, in Nowy Żmigród, the local Leader of Dialogue, Jerzy Dębiec talked about the challenges faced by a Leader of Dialogue working alone, as his only associate recently decided to move to another town. Everyone was deeply impressed by the dedication and amount of hard work that Jerzy Dębiec puts into taking care of the Nowy Żmigród’s Jewish cemetery. One of the participants even commented in appreciation that the grass on the cemetery resembles that of a golf course. In turn, Jerzy Dębiec could hear from Leaders more experienced in international projects, as he is currently planning to establish connections with descendants of Nowy Żmigród’s Jews. The group then went to Hałbowska mountain pass, where they paid their respects at the site of a mass grave making a spot where over 1200 local Jews lost their lives during the war.

photo: J.Szkarłat

Project co-financed by the Ledor Wador Foundation.

In appreciation to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for supporting this educator training program. Through recovering the assets of the victims of the Holocaust, the Claims Conference enables organizations around the world to provide education about the Shoah and to preserve the memory of those who perished.

claims-conference

September 21st, 2017

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September 20th, 2017

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