In the fall of 2018, a goup of participants of Forum’s Study Trip to Poland celebrated Shabbat together with Leaders of Dialogue in Dębica, in the Podkarpackie region. On Friday evening, October 12, the participants and guests sat at one table in the historic Wiluszówka Villa to get to know each other and build bonds.
The meeting began with a tour of Jewish Dębica guided by the host, Ireneusz Socha, a local Leader of Dialogue. The tour included, among others, the Market Square in Old Dębica, streets of the pre-war Jewish life, the former ghetto area – now a park, a Jewish bakery building (where the participants bought challah) and the Nowomiejska Synagogue, where Ireneusz Socha, the keeper of the building, sang a funeral prayer. The mass execution site in the Wolica forest was the last stop of the tour, where the participants said kaddish.
Before the supper, Maya Liquornik, a participant to the study trip from Israel, read Parashah about the true righteous and their light, referring to the present Leaders of Dialogue – Ireneusz Socha, Jolanta Świerczek-Stelmach from Dąbrowa Tarnowska with her husband Jerzy Stelmach, and Tadeusz Królczyk from Ochotnica Górna
The guests where very impressed by the diversity of work for the preservation of local memory that the Leaders presented over the supper. The Leaders talked about their work for the preservation of local memory over supper table. Tadeusz Królczyk from Ochotnica also mentioned his work in local government – the Shabbath was held a week before the local elections (which he won and became a mayor). The participants were also impressed when during the dinner Ireneusz Socha sang“Lecha Dodi” song to the forgotten melody of the Dębica Hassidic Jews – they admitted that they had never heard such an arrangement.
The guests emphasized how that evening felt family-like to them – as if the hosts from Dębica invited them to their own home for Shabbat. “This isn’t the end – but the beginning of something” one of the guests said at the end.
The program is co-financed by Malka and Pinek Krystal Scholarship Fund.