One of the events planned for the study trip organized by Forum for Dialogue in October 2017 was a Shabbat evening with Leaders of Dialogue from Chrzanów in the Lesser Poland Province. On Friday night, October 20, the participants of the study trip and the guests sat at one table to meet and connect.
Rabbi Wayne Franklin, who participated in the study trip, led the Shabbat prayers before the meal. Kamil Bogusz, a Leader of Dialogue in Chrzanów and the town’s mayor, thanked the guests for their visit and emphasized that this was the first Shabbat dinner organized in Chrzanów since World War II!
Leaders of Dialogue from other towns – Joanna and Michał Lorenc from Bieruń and Rymanów as well as Justyna Biernat from Tomaszów Mazowiecki – also came to the event.
The dinner proved that the world is a small place. It turned out that Joanna and Michał Lorenc have friends in common with the study trip participants – the descendants of Jews from Rymanów who come to Rymanów for the Days of Remembrance organized by Joanna and Michał. During the dinner every Leader received an unexpected gift, a mezuzah from Forgotten Judaica, a brand of Judaica products created by siblings participating in the study trip.
On Saturday, Kamil Bogusz, an expert in the local history, guided the guests around Jewish Chrzanów. The tour included such places as Estera Square and the memorial boulder on the site of the former synagogue, the market square, the house of Henryk Loewenthal, as well as houses with impressive Sukkahs that have been preserved until today. In the afternoon Kamil Bogusz took all comers to the Jewish cemetery in Chrzanów. The preserved and decorated mazevot made a huge impression on the guests.
When summarizing the experience of the visit in Chrzanów, one of the study trip participants said, “Shabbat returned to this wonderful town after a 70-year “nap” and we were pleased and gratified to bring it back. Kamil is an extra-special person whose pride and enthusiasm in the work he does and his contributions to preserving his town’s history are well-deserved and so sincerely appreciated.”