What brought you to Krakow and how did you end-up at the JCC?
My name is Fayaz Ahmed from Pakistan. I have come to Krakow on a Double Degree Masters Program Clean Fossil & Alternative Fuels Energy (CFAFE) being funded by EIT InnoEnergy. One morning while having a walking tour of Jewish Quarter, our tour guide mentioned JCC Krakow and told us about its history and contributions to the revival of Jewish life in Krakow. Before coming to Krakow, I had never had a long interaction with Jewish people in person. All I knew about them was from Hollywood movies like Schindler's List and The Pianist. When I heard about volunteering opportunities for Shabbat Dinner at JCC Krakow, I made up my mind within no time to join JCC Krakow as a volunteer in order to get to know the Jewish community firsthand.
Why did you decide to stay at the JCC?
I still vividly remember the first Shabbat dinner I volunteered for. It was a much better experience than I had expected because it was a totally new community for me. I could literally see the sincere appreciation of my efforts reflected from the smiles on participants' faces while interacting with me. JCC Krakow is one big family that dines together, celebrates together, and smiles together, and I enjoy being part of it.
What is your best JCC memory?
A few weeks ago, I was absent from one of the Shabbat dinners due to some other commitments. When I came for the next Shabbat dinner, an old lady came to me, held my hands gently and said something in Polish that I couldn't understand at all. Asia, a fellow volunteer, was standing next to me and translated that the old lady was saying that she missed me during my absence. I can't put that feeling into words, but it was definitely one of the most incredible moments I have had at JCC Krakow, which I am going to cherish throughout my life.