Once a town of its own, Kazimierz now constitutes a neighborhood of Krakow. Before World War II it was the heart of the Jewish community featuring at least eight different synagogues, Jewish community buildings, and markets. Abandoned for decades after the war when the Jews were expelled to the ghetto and did not return, Kazimierz is now a center of night life and student hangouts, as well as a tourist area featuring Jewish themes.
|front gate of Remu synagogue|
Behind the Remu synagogue is the old Jewish cemetery in Kazimierz. This cemetery was unique from the others we had visited as it had been refurbished during the post war
|the memorial wall|
|the Aron Kodesh (Torah cabinet)|
in the Old Synagogue
We passed other remnants of Kazimierz Jewish life on the way to the second synagogue,
|gazing up at the Jewish study house|
Once we'd finished our tour, we stopped for lunch at an Israeli restaurant in the old Kazimierz town square. For many it was the first taste of Israeli food, and the general reaction seemed to be positive. We tried a variety of flavors of hummus dipped in freshly baked Middle Eastern bread, as well as kebabs and lemonades spiked with exotic spices and fruits. It was great to sit down as a group during the day and socialize over a meal.
How do you get busy college students to take time out to write a trip blog? It was an ingenious plan that worked well: that afternoon, we trekked across Kazimierz for a writing session at a Laundromat-Café, armed with our dirty clothes, iPads, laptops, and cell phones. Who writes with pencils and paper anymore??
|all dressed up for the synagogue|
|prayer on Izaak Synagogue wall|
The most interesting portion of the service was the sermon. It was delivered in English, so we could all actually understand it. It was passionate and powerful. The rabbi referred to the fact that this
|Ride for Life cyclists |
arriving at the JCC before Shabbat
|Shabbat meal items display|
at the Old Synagogue
It ended at about 11 p.m., and some of us sleepily walked down the street to our hotel and dropped off to sleep, while others went off to town and celebrated life.