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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » July 9, 2008
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Jewish Culture Festival
July 9, 2008   
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The 18th Jewish Culture Festival, held under the auspices of The Warsaw Voice, has just wound up in Cracow. The festival, one of the largest events of its kind in the world, included concerts, lectures, workshops, film screenings, art performances and tours.

The underlying motif of the nine-day festival was 60 years of the state of Israel, and the organizers set out to show how culturally diverse modern-day Israel is.

Festival director Janusz Makusz says he does not want Poland to be associated solely with the Holocaust. This explains why the festival celebrates life and looks into the future, Makusz says.

This year's concerts drew record crowds because they featured stars such as Yasmin Levy, who performed Sephardic music at the city's Tempel Synagogue July 2. With her evocative voice and grace, Levy won the audience over, encouraging people to sing along and clap.

Festival-goers also enjoyed a concert by Jordi Savall, a world-famous artist who specializes in early music. Savall performed Diaspora Sefardi July 30. The concert catered to divergent tastes and included classical and klezmer music (the Oy Division), and songs by cantors, in addition to jazz and rock.

A mixture of various genres could also be enjoyed at an open-air concert on Szeroka Street.

This year's festival attracted crowds to Cracow's Kazimierz district. Fans could buy souvenirs and tasty dishes at the local Druzyjski Market. The open-air Concerts Between Two Synagogues was a success as well, allowing a new talent to emerge: the Rabbi of Cracow, Boaz Pasha, who beautifully performed a song a cappella together with young Polish singer Urszula Makosz.

Edyta Gajewska

more info at: www.jewishfestival.pl
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