32nd Jewish Culture Festival

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - Sunday, July 2, 2023

  • Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - Sunday, July 2, 2023

This year the festival will be held between June 28th and July 2nd and will be dedicated to the air.

Most of the festival events will be held in the Festival Tent, as in the past years. To our  concert venues: Tempel synagogue, Alchemia, Hevre , this year we add also … Szeroka street! Yes! This edition, dedicated to the air is a perfect opportunity to bring back our great outdoor concert – Shalom on Szeroka Street! After three years it will held again on July 1st, 2023!

Theme of the festival

In Hebrew, the air is ruah, but this word in Hebrew has many different meanings.

“While looking for “the common element” which contains the three core meanings of the word  RUAH – the Spirit, the Breath and the Wind, which, as a Jewish sign is eligible for (almost) everyone, this year we refer to the notion/instrument, whose sound – on account of the awareness of the breath – expresses both  Ruah Elohim, Divine presence and also our human, imperfect yet invaluable, presence and, owing to the air/wind, it reaches the most remote areas of the human souls and its world,” Janusz Makuch said.

75 years of Israel

In May 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed – becoming the home of the millions of Jews from the entire world: this is not only the place where they found shelter, but also the place where the most authentic Jewish culture is born: rich and diverse, like all who came to Eretz Israel from all corners of the world. The JCF is the only festival in the world which attempts to show this diversity and the victory of the Jewish culture over the civilization of death. Like Israel, the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival also had gone the long way from shtetl – to Zion!

The anniversary of the Israel’s proclamation is also the occasion to bring back films to the Festival. In the JCF Tent and in the undergrounds of the High Synagogue we will present 6 films from The Hebrews series, an unparalleled collection directed by Yair Qedar containing documentaries showing the most important persons for Israel, including Amos Oz, Abraham Sutzkever, Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky, Zelda and others. The Ambassador of Israel, Mr Yacov Livne, Yossi Klein-Halevi, Matti Friedman and Konstanty Gebert will talk  about the history and presence of Israel.

More anniversaries to celebrate!

45 years ago – a young vocalist from Greece – Grazia, made her debut record  in an Israeli record company. No one then expected that this record would become the beginning of the most important trend in contemporary Israeli music– psychodelia. Nobody also expected that the contemporary world was not ready for such a young and revolutionary vocalist. Her debut marked also the end of her career. The tribute to this vocalist at the JCF is paid by Krakow’s band, MLDVA and Petra Nachtmanowa. They will play for you the record which is the bestselling Israeli record ever.

25 years ago Krakow’s band Bester Quartet made their first record. The band, founded by an accordionist, Jarosław Bester, attempting to re-interpret the klezmer music became the only Polish band which cut its records in the iconic record company, Tzadik of John Zorn in New York. The JCF will be concluded with the jubilee concert of the  Bester Quartet played in the Tempel synagogue.

20 years ago Israeli band  BoomPam was founded – this is the band which combined Grazia  psychodelia music with the musical diversity brought by immigrants to Israel. They created their own stye thanks to which they have been regarded as the leading band of the Israeli music stage. They collaborated with the most distinguished Israeli musicians active in many fields, gave many concerts at the JCF in Krakow. We are glad to know that they have chosen us for the celebration of their jubilee, together with their friends: Neta Elkayam, Kutiman and Shai Tsabari! This will be the main element of this year’s concert Shalom at Szeroka street, yet, apart from them some other Jewish musicians from the entire world will perform.

The heart of the Festival

Since 2019 the Festrival Tent, placed at the crossing of Józefa and Wąska streets has been the place where the majority of the JCF events are held. Also this year, it will house the lectures, workshops and radio broadcasts will be organized there, and also Cheder 2.0 will be active in the Tent.

And more…

The literary program will feature three meetings this year: with Ishbel Szatrawska, Jacek Tacik, Zuzanna Hertzberg and Patrycja Dołowy.

Also the Klezmer workshops return to the Festival (with Frank London and Michael Winograd) and also culinary workshops – this time each of the five workshops carried out by Bartek Kieżun (i.e. the Krakow Pasta Chef) will be completed with feasting of all the workshops participants together. For the first time, you will also have a chance to participate in the workshops of the movement with the Gaga method – Natalia Iwaniec will teach you the language of movement, created by an Isreali, Ohad Naharin.

Likewise in the two previous years, together with the Curatorial Collective for Public Art from Berlin, we are organizing a site-specific project – this time it will be titled Lehavdil, and was inspired by the Jewish ceremony that ends Shabbat – Havdala. This ceremony, full of symbols and meanings, which separates the holy times from everyday times, was reinterpreted by Shelley Etkin, Florence To and Wojtek Blecharz.


Three years of pandemic made it impossible for us to organize this concert, which, since its first edition in 1991 has earned to become our flagship. Several thousand participants each year, 7 hours of Jewish music played nonstop, great atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood, and also the unique climate of Krakow’s Kazimierz, inspired  The New York Times to name this concert the Jewish Woodstock.


The whole program of the 32nd JCF, together with the description of specific events, is available HERE – it presents the evets from the main program and also the and accompanying program, organized by our partners.

Attention! Due to very bad technical condition of the Tempel synagogue, we needed to move concerts to the Museum of Engineering and Technology at 15 Wawrzynca street.

For whom: for children, for seniors, for families
Other: free admission, acceptable for people with disabilities
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