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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » September 2, 2009
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Renovating Jewish Bath
September 2, 2009   
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Rabbi Gedalya Olshtein, who is a specialist in the Jewish ritual bath mikvah, Aug. 24 inspected an old mikvah recently discovered in Warsaw's Praga district.

The old mikvah was uncovered in an inner courtyard soon after renovation work started on the foundations of buildings at 31 K³opotowskiego St. The facility, which forms part of the building's bathing complex, was once used for collecting rainwater, Olshtein said. The former mikvah building is the only facility of its kind in Warsaw.

"This is a very important facility for Jews," Olshtein said. "A Jewish community that could not afford to build a mikvah would often adapt a house of prayer for this purpose."

The renovation work on K³opotowskiego Street started in mid-August with preparing the site for insulating work. The cost of the project will be fully covered by the Jewish community. The building's exterior will also be renovated: half the money for this purpose has been provided by the historic heritage conservator's office. Renovation work is scheduled to be completed in late November. At the end of last year, the Jewish community renovated the facility's roof, restoring it to its original appearance.

"Playing works by Frederic Chopin on the historical piano solves a lot of music-related problems, but what matters the most is a personal interpretation of the pieces," German pianist Andreas Staier told journalists, speaking about his technique. The famous historical piano and harpsichord virtuoso was the titular star of the "Chopin and His Music. From Staier to Staier" Fifth International Music Festival in Warsaw.

The event, organized by the National Frederic Chopin Institute, was held Aug. 15-31. This year, the festival sought to deliver the original sound of the music written by Chopin and other 19th-century composers, including Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann.

Over two weeks, the festival featured more than 300 performers, including such stars as Martha Argerich, Emanuel Ax and Frans Brüggen and his Orchestra of the 18th Century.
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