Jerusza Program

In March 2019, a new training program -Jerusza- for Jewish community professionals in Warsaw was launched by the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland Foundation and owing to the generous support of the Dutch Humanitarian Fund. The project was created by the Taube Center educational team in response to a need, voiced in the community, of a program that would be designed for Polish Jews with their unique specificity. The goal is to work on our communication skills, envision the community we want to be building and to support the idea of its sustainability.

The inaugural cohort consists of 6 participants who represent such organizations and initiatives as JCC Warsaw, JCC Kraków, Jewish Community of Warsaw, Jewish Community of Łódź, Puszke Foundation and Limud. Each of the participants will have presented their own workshop to others. So far, Tinatin Ciciszwili ran a hevruta study, Teofila Włodarczyk shared her insights from the field of anthropology, Karolina Budny explored the issue of 3rd generation identities and Agnieszka Kocur Smoleń spoke of the importance of expressing gratitude among discussing other skills needed for creating a sense of well being and connectedness in a workplace and community.

In the first semester, we focused on getting to know each other, individually and institution wise, as well as on improving our communication and community building skills. For this purpose, we organised improvisation sessions led by Ariel Bialski and hevruta studies. Working on such Torah portions as Vayakhel and gave us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of community in Jewish tradition and elements needed for creating one. In addition, we attended lectures on the history of Polish Jewish communities with the President of the Korczak Foundation Wojciech Lasota and with our Program Director Marta Eichelberger-Jankowska and explored Jewish sites located near our office.

The focus of our fall and winter sessions is to provide our participants with opportunities to meet and learn from successful fundraisers such as the former Polin Museum's Director of Development Marta Wróbel, former President of the Warsaw Jewish Community Anna Chipczyńska and JCC Kraków Director Jonathan Ornstein. From Marta Wróbel, the cohort gained knowledge of basic concepts and skills needed for fundraising. Anna Chipczyńska shared her experiences and coached participants in the development of their own ideas. On December 15th, Director Ornstein will share how he manages to successfully raise funds abroad.

We will close this edition with one more Shabbaton session. As the previous June Shabbaton was built around the idea of Shabbat as a concept that plays both an integrating and divisive role in Jewish communities, the January one will be built around the idea of creating.