February 28, 2010

THANKS, JPII:

Changing Face in Poland: Skinhead Puts on Skullcap (DAN BILEFSKY, 2/28/10, NY Times)

[M]ichael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, said he considered Poland the most pro-Israel country in the European Union. He said the attitude of Pope John Paul II, a Pole, who called Jews “our elder brothers,” had finally entered the public consciousness.

Ten years after the revelation that 1,600 Jews of the town of Jedwabne were burned alive by their Polish neighbors in July 1941, he said the national myth that all Poles were victims of World War II had finally been shattered.

“Before 1989 there was a feeling that it was not safe to say, ‘I am a Jew,’ ” Rabbi Schudrich said. “But two decades later, there is a growing feeling that Jews are a missing limb in Poland. The level of anti-Semitism remains unacceptable, but the image of the murderous Pole seared in the consciousness of many Jews after the war doesn’t correspond to the Poland of 2010.”

The small Jewish revival has been under way for several years around eastern Europe. Hundreds of Poles, a majority of them raised as Catholics, are either converting to Judaism or discovering Jewish roots submerged for decades in the aftermath of World War II.

In the past five years, Warsaw’s Jewish community had grown to 600 families from 250. The cafes and bars of the old Jewish quarter in Krakow brim with young Jewish converts listening to Israeli hip hop music.

Michal Pirog, a popular Polish dancer and television star, who recently proclaimed his Jewish roots on national television, said the revelation had won him more fans than enemies. “Poland is changing,” he said. “I am Jewish and I feel good,” he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 28, 2010 2:39 PM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« TRY UNKNOTTING THAT TANGLE: | Main | OZONE BOY VS NATURE: »