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The Machers’ Diary

Tal from Israel and Jules from France are the first interns-volunteers helping us to prepare Jewish Culture Festival. They started in March and will stay with you till the end of the summer. They also joined  international group of volunteers, who spend 5 weeks in  Krakow. Here is where you can read about their Polish and festival experiences and where you will see some of the results of their work here in Krakow. Here is The Machers’ Diary!

Tal, July 24th, 2023

The Machers – beautiful people – thank you all for this unforgettable experience!

Tal, July 14th, 2023

Last year, when I came to volunteer at the Jewish Culture Festival for the first time – I was overwhelmed with so many positive emotions, was happy to meet so many new people and get so many new experiences, that really changed my points of view on many issues. Adam, one of  the volunteers this year wrote really wonderful article about his experience in Krakow – I can subscribe under each and every of Adam’s statements. Please read the article here.

Tal, July 10th, 2023

These past days I was working on a video wrapping up that unique concert in the heart of Kazimierz. I still cannot believe that it really happened. So many beautiful performance, such great energy from thousands and thousands of people who came here from all around the globe to enjoy contemporary Jewish music. That was just amazing!

Jules, July 7th, 2023

Now I can share with you photos from the performance that I was supervising – the first artistic project prepared by volunteers in cooperation with international artists. We all created street performance based on the script that we also wrote. And – last but not least – we made all those costumes and giant puppets ourselves! And finally saw what was the use of thousands of latex gloves…..

Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus
Maggots: On Air, photo Michał Ramus

Tal, Jules, July 3rd, 2023

Still recovering from busy days during the festival, but we wanted to share with you five reels that we have prepared together with one of the volunteer – Axelle – so you can see how intense it was! And how great! We already miss that festival vibe….

Jules, June 18th, 2023

One of my tasks here was to help designing some element needed for various festival events. Here I was asked by Kasia to design menu of the four festival culinary workshops with Bartek Kieżun. Menu looks delicious, hope I will have a chance to try some of the dishes. Bon apetite!

My second mission here is to supervise the first artistic project for volunteers ever held at the festival. From almost my very first days here I am doing online shopping – buying things from the miles long list received from artists. Sometime I am wondering what this project will be all about. Until now I bought for example: 6,000 latex gloves, 30 pairs of white tights, 30 meters of rope, bike helmets, swimming noodles… Needless to say that Edyta rented 15 sewing machines… Will see soon what comes out of that.

Tal, June 13th, 2023

The festival is just around the corner and everyone is super excited that the great concerts – on fact a trade mark of the festival – is returning this year after three years of pandemic break. Yes! Shalom on Szeroka street is back on July 1st and already now you can enjoy  the teaser i made to encourage you to come!

Jules, June 11th, 2023

It is hard to imagine not to be present in social media nowadays. It is not only to promote your activity, but also to communicate your mission to the broad spectrum of people. This is why we launched new Machers account on Instagram, not only to spread the word about our work, but also to give you a little ‘behind the stage’ info. The new Machers’ logo you see there was designed by me and Tal and it presents the Hebrew letter ‘mem’  – for the Machers, of course! Click, follow and enjoy!

Tal, June 9th, 2023

Jules, June 8th, 2023

Jewish Culture Festival really knows how to use social media to reach their fans, artists and to promote their values. Once I was accepted as a volunteer, I spend hours on exploring festival’s Instagram and Facebook profiles to know precisely where am I going to spend six coming months. I was really impressed with what I saw but also found some elements to be improved.

Once I came to Krakow, I offered to design stories icons for the Instagram profile of the festival, using already existing logos and designing new ones. They were quite random before and with such a great visual identification every year, I think they needed to be updated. You may see my work here.  And please: have a look also in the stories – they will give you a great insight in what the festival is!

Tal, June 8th, 2023

Before I came to Krakow, I was already engaged in festival’s preparations.  When Janusz Makuch visited Israel shortly before Pesach, I made few short clips with him and Rabbi Boaz Pash explaining various meanings of the word ruah in Hebrew. When in Krakow, I edited them and added Polish subtitles, which was quite a challenge for me but also helped me to get used to the sound of Polish language. You may see the results by clicking the photo below.

Now I have another challenge: while in Jerusalem, Janusz recorded also Psalms – in locations that for him are meaningful for this particular psalm. It is going to be a story of Jerusalem told through David’s Psalms. I subtitled them in Polish and now I am working on an English version – they will be available before the festival, I guarantee, and in the meantime you may enjoy them in Polish by clicking the photo below.

Jules, June 7th, 2023

Story of a volunteer

I am Jules, 27 years old, volunteering for the 32nd edition of the Jewish Culture Festival.

Since the begging of 2023 I tried to give another impetus to my day-to-day life by doing a gap year and take part in a volunteering program.

I always liked to discover other countries especially around Europe, I already took part on two different Erasmus student projects, lived in different European cities. I am now volunteering trough the European Solidarity Corps by helping the team that organise the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. My aim to discover new people, new languages and new cultures led me to participate in a volunteering program.

Graduated in urban planning and architecture, I also appreciate travelling and more precisely visit cities around the world.

Passionate by modernism and brutalist architecture, Poland was for me one of the countries in Europe that I must travelled to and eventually live in. Regarding this point, coming to Poland and travelling in diverse cities permits me to see the planification of the cities of the 20th century which I found interesting.

Concerning the festival, music represents my way of life, listening to music from all around the world is something I always loved to do. The festival is an opportunity for me to discover some artist related to the Jewish Culture.

Not only helping the JCF team at the office, I am also taking advantage of my stay to visiting Poland.

Thanks to the ESC project, as volunteers, we had a training meeting that gather volunteers from diverse organization all around Poland. At that meeting I had the chance to meet some other volunteers from Krakow and start some friendship with some of them.

Thanks to the program I had the opportunity to visit Warsaw. Moreover, I went to visit the beautiful Wroclaw.

Being in this area of Europe allowed me to have some trips in other places in borders countries, so I took profit to visit Budapest.

As I said previously, life is intense, I get to know every day new people, doing sport, try food, in short; I am enjoying every single minutes here in Krakow.

To conclude, I am happy to be part of this project and see how a festival is organised from the inside. The team as welcome me and Tal wonderfully. We are already fully part of this amazing team, passionate and careful of everyone.

I hope that my story and my experience will inspire some of you to volunteering in general and more specially for the 33rd edition of the festival.


Tal, May 15th, 2023

Point of view: The first time I set foot on Polish soil 13 years ago wearing the Israeli Air Force uniform, at that moment the circle opened.

When I returned to Israel, my curiosity about the Polish Jewish community did not leave me, and over time it became a family matter. We are always looking for answers about my family who lived in Poland before World War II. In the house where my mother grew up, her parents and grandparents didn’t talk about the past, they didn’t want to touch the wound that never healed.

After my military service I started working in the field of live music and video production but felt that something is missing. Following my love for festivals I discovered quite by accident the Jewish Culture festival. At the time, I didn’t know how dear this event would become to my heart.

In May of 2022 I saw that the festival was looking for volunteers from all over the world and I decided to challenge myself. I was received by the staff with great love. The initial meeting with Janusz was an unforgettable moment, a bomb of energy and inspiration.

While learning about the making of the festival, I discovered that it is not just another festival, it is a celebration of love, tradition, memory of the past and a celebration of the living.

Krakow was home to many Jews for centuries. People with traditions, opinions, dreams, goals and ambitions and in one moment these lives were cut short. The festival reminds us how precious life is.

Part of my work was to document the festival in video, moments that will probably never repeat themselves – in the envelope of the past, present and future of the festival in Kazimierz, these moments take on a special and unusual meaning.

In many conversations and the curiosity of volunteers and guests, I learned new things about my own heritage, things that always seemed obvious to me suddenly made me feel proud and attracted to my own Jewish heritage.

It was not only spiritual. This artistic environment also gave me a lot of ideas and inspiration. During the events opportunities were created for new connections and collaborations with artists who took part in the festival. Something I always wanted to do!

​​This year I was invited to return to Krakow for long-term volunteering to help with the production of this year’s festival edition. Of course I said yes without hesitation.

This invitation was a second chance to give more and express myself, to keep learning, develop and open up. To continue the circle that opened years ago.

Last March I arrived in Krakow again. Only this time I’m experiencing Krakow from a different angle, more as a “home” in a “daily routine”. I get to experience the seasonal transition of winter, spring and summer.

Behind the scenes in the office are accompanied by enthusiasm, pressure and excitement that begin to build slowly as we get closer to the arrival of more volunteers and the date of the festival itself.

In special moments the routine changed a little – I went to Warsaw for a week of workshops and met other volunteers in Poland from different parts of the world and learned more about Poland.

As part of events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, I participated for the first time in the March Of The Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau, it was a powerful and emotional day.

I had the privilege of being present at a concert honoring the Japanese diplomat – Chiune Sugihara who saved thousands of Jews during World War II in Manggha Museum. My eyes did not remain dry.

On that note, I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to be here in Krakow and also share my thoughts and experiences here with you. I promise to continue challenging myself and represent my home and heritage with pride.

I look forward to what’s to come next.. See you all in Kazimierz!
Do widzenia!