ZACHOR FESTIVAL OF JEWISH CULTURE
(Zachor Festiwal Kultury Żydowskiej)
20-22 SEPTEMBER 2008
View Video of Introduction of the Art of Israel Beker with Lucy Lisowska and Pnina Beker, widow of the Artist HERE
View Video of interview with USA Klezmer Artist Yale Strom [in English] HERE
Report from Wrota Podlasia (the Internet portal of information for Podlaskie Province)
loosely translated by the editor using Google Language Tools
Click HERE for Polish Language Article
On 20-22 September in Bialystok was held Zachor Jewish Culture Festival - the Colors and the Sounds of Bialystok.
Organizers were Center for Civic Education Poland-Israel (President is Lucy Lisowska), the Jewish Community in Warsaw, and the Bialystok Center of Culture (Białostocki Ośrodek Kultury).
The Festival was organized under the patronage of the Mayor of Bialystok, Tadeusz Truskolaski, the Marshal of Podlaskie Province, Jaroslaw Dworzanski, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe, and the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, David Peleg.
Zachor Festival 2008 presented the art and achievements of Israel Beker, a respected artist born in Bialystok, who painted images of Chanajki - the Jewish district of Bialystok. A full collection of the works of Beker became available thanks to the support of the Festival by Moshe Beker, the son of the artist, who gave permission for the multimedia presentation of his father's work. Moshe Becker graced the Festival with his presence accompanied by his mother, the widow of Israel Beker.
Zachor 2008 was filled with performances by bands playing Jewish music, including Yale Strom, the famous klezmer artist from New York. In addition, Jewish dance workshops performed by "Snunit" provided a better understanding of Jewish rhythms. A visiting choir (from Lodz), CLIL, also performed.
The ambition of the organizers was to bring people together through mutual understanding. For many years, Bialystok was a multi-cultural town with a large Jewish presence. That Jewish presence can be found in today's Bialystok with indelible traces of customs and elements of Jewish culture. The hope is that the active involvement of Bialystok communities will enrich all in a better understanding of where we live. We should be proud of the rich history of our particular region and city. The name of our city is seen almost daily in the name of BIALYS sold on the streets of New York. Seventy years ago, BIALYS were at least as popular here as they are now in New York.
Day I. 20 September 2008 Saturday, before the Town Hall Square (Ratusz)
Day II. 21 September 2008 Sunday, before the Town Hall Square
Day III. 22 September 2008 Monday
Letter Received from Klezmer Artist Yale Strom
After His Performance at ZACHOR 2008 in Bialystok
See Yale Strom Interview at Zachor 2008 HERE
Dear Mark Halpern,
This year's first "ZACHOR" Jewish festival in Bialystok, was a great success. I was brought from San Diego to present two klezmer concerts. One concert was at the Cafe Esperanto which was well attended even though it was outside and it was cold and rainy. My second concert I performed at the philharmonic hall with a wonderful Polish pianist - we had a full house 200 people. The festival was built around the art exhibition of native son Israel Beker the famous painter and actor who moved to Israel in 1950, having survived the Holocaust in Russia.
The Beker family (Israel's wife, two sons, grandchildren and great-granddaughter) from Israel were invited as well and this was a real special for everyone. It was there first time back in the birthplace of their father. Moshe Beker who is a TV personality in Israel spoke several times to the various audiences expressing their gratitude but also the pain they felt because they had lost so many members of their father's family during the Holocaust.
During the festival - there was a wonderful ceremony organized with the Israeli Embassy where two Polish families received medals of helping Jews survive the Holocaust. Other activities she organized were a Jewish choir "CLIL" and lastly there was a wonderful Polish dance troupe "Snunit" that performed Israeli folk dances to an enthusiastic crowd. All of the planning, press, publicity and of course fund raising was done by Lucy.
Lucy is the president of the "Festival of Jewish Culture Zachor: The Colors and Sounds of Bialystok." besides her she received assistance from the Center of Education in Poland, Israel and the Jewish Community in Warsaw.
She is anxious to start planning for next year's "Zachor" festival after the High Holidays. Please help her with any contacts you may have that can financially support this important festival. Bialystok was an important vibrant center of Jewish life before the war and this festival helps to enlightened as well as entertain the Poles in Bialystok about this vibrant Jewish life that was wiped out.
zay gezint - a zise naye yor!
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Last Updated on 10 October 2008.