Jewish Culture Sans Jewish People

The Financial Times reports,

[T]he past few years have brought a huge resurgence of interest in Jewish culture [in Poland]. Take a walk today round Kazimierz, the historic Jewish district, and the cobbled streets buzz with life. Jewish restaurants line the famous Szeroka Street and passionate Klezmer music seems to emerge from round every corner.

But there is a strange twist to the resurgence of Jewish culture in Kazimierz; there are hardly any Jews.

Full story.

10 thoughts on “Jewish Culture Sans Jewish People

  1. Jews are squeezed by anti-Semitism on the left and anti-Semitism on the left. It is diificult to choose, but I remain a liberal and a Democrat, although I eschew the far left as being tainted by anti-Semitism.
    I never thought that Zionism would end anti-Semitism and I do not think that Zionism has failed because it has not ended hatred of Jews. I can live in America because Israel exists. If Israel did not exist I would have to go to there and help create it. I’m not sure that this thought has occurred to Israelis, but it’s true.
    I am a Zionist because I believe that Jews will always need a country of our own as a refuge from anti-Semitism.
    I do question Jewish conservatives. They are putting their conservative philosphy first by ignoring the anti-Semitism of the Christian Right. It was appalling that they defended Mel Gibson.
    However, all the recent polls, including Gallup’s May 25th poll, Jews remain Democratic and socially liberal. They also see the Christian Right as the most anti-Semitic group in the US.

  2. this is old news. it happened in Germany too. Whether its guilt or a fad is unclear. Not sure how I feel about this form of jewsploitation, but it creeps me out. Running the Disney equivalent of a ghost town, especially one where millions died, seems an odd way to honor the past. If preservation were the goal, they’d invite Jews back, handover the property that was stolen/confiscated/usurped, all the money that’s been made off of it and deed it to the Jewish community of Poland sans tax for a thousand years.
    I will say they’ve done a better job preserving Jewish sites than Jews do in America, and that its easy to paint a rosy picture of Jews in Poland without a downside when there’s few to no Jews to actually respond to in real life. Yeah, its a guilt-fed entreprenuerial mechanism, but one not guilty enought feel it right to donate the proceeds or the buildings back to the original community.
    I will say, however that the Kazmierz Jewish Music Festival is possibly one of the best in the world- again, lots of Jews onstage, very few in the audience.

  3. yeah, it’s weird. i was just there and it felt probably the same way that an american indian feels when he goes to the crafts fair in albuquerque and sees a bunch of well-meaning white hippies selling native art. it’s not the worst thing — there’s probably some genuine respect for the culture, but it’s not great either. if the poles really wanted to help out, they’d open up a bunch of formerly jewish towns to any jewish OR palestinian refugees who wanted to move there….

  4. Imho, it´s better than nothing. In comparison with a long silence towards Jewish culture and life in Poland the newfound resurgance of interest in Jewish culture is great. Many people still remember the year 1968 when a state supported campaign basicly forced thousand of Jews to flee the country..
    Even if it is a tad plastic and “not real” it´s a sign that Poles are becoming aware of their 1000 year connection with the Jewish people, and that is good ! Remember that many polish youths have shown interest in jewish culture in poland and that too is positive, a step on the road of rooting out antisemitism finally..

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