Poland’s Day of Judaism

The Poland’s Day of Judaism was celebrated by the Catholic Church in Kielce for the second time (for the first time it was celebrated in 2006).

The motto of this year’s celebration was a quotation from the prophet Jeremiah “You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived”. The celebrations, which commenced at the Menorah monument on January 17, were co-organized by the Jan Karski Society.

The main ceremony was led by Bogdan Białek, president of the Jan Karski Society and co-chairman of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. A prayer for the Jews murdered during the pogrom in Kielce was led by Bishop Jan Piotrowski and Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis, a representative of the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich.

Jewish residents of Kielce together with Poles who saved Jews during World War II were commemorated in front of the former synagogue. The ceremony participants put candles at the Wall of Remembrance of the Righteous Among the Nations.

Then, in the auditorium of the Theological Seminary in Kielce, Rabbi Abraham Skórka delivered a lecture on “Jews and Christians in the new world.” The guest from Argentina, a friend of Pope Francis, remarked that Jews and Christians must work together to counter the nihilistic, destructive reality.

After the lecture, a discussion panel was held on the Day of Judaism. It included Bishop Mieczysław Cisło, Bishop Rafał Markowski, Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis, Rabbi Małgorzata Kordowicz, Professor Sławomir Żurek, Professor Stanisław Krajewski and Fr. Przemysław Kantyka. At the end of the panel the following spoke: Archbishop Henryk Muszyński and vice-ambassador of Israel in Poland, Ruth Cohen-Dar.

In the afternoon a biblical mass was held in the Kielce Cathedral, at the beginning of which a menorah was lit by Jews and Christians. Then the gathered listened to some excerpts from the Bible. The first text, from the prophet Jeremiah, was read out in Hebrew and Polish. The homily was delivered by Bishop Mieczysław Cisło. At the end of the mass, the Bishop of Kielce bestowed the Aaron benediction.

The Kielce celebration of the Day of Judaism ended with the “Evening of Psalms” organized at the Kielce Cultural Centre. Interpretations of selected psalms were presented by Fr. Grzegorz Michalczyk from Warsaw and Rabbi Dawid Szychowski from Lodz.