Thanks, Justin!

JCC Krakow Executive Director Jonathan Ornstein & Justin Kadis at the JFNA General Assembly in Washington, DC

JCC Krakow Executive Director Jonathan Ornstein & Justin Kadis at the JFNA General Assembly in Washington, DC

Justin Kadis has devoted the last year and a half of his life to building a Jewish future in Krakow. This remarkable young man – who came here on a one-year JDC fellowship, fell in love with Krakow and decided to stay another 6 months – is now leaving us, moving on to the next stage of his life.

It’s hard for me to list his accomplishments here because there have been so many. He helped us found our “Friends of JCC Krakow” US non-profit organization and upon leaving Krakow will serve as its first director. He worked on social media, marketing, fundraising and met with thousands of visitors, whom he tirelessly and passionately told about the amazing community he found in Krakow. The JCC he is leaving behind is a far more organized, professional and successful institution – much of that thanks to him.

Justin travelled around the US with me many times, helping me bring Krakow’s message of hope to people at synagogues, JCCs, conferences and people’s homes. 

Justin not only helped us build the community but became an integral part of it. He learned Polish (not an easy thing to do!) and connected to community members of all ages, especially our older members, many of whom are Holocaust survivors. 

As a foodie, Justin will certainly be sorely missed by the many restaurants he kept in business through his patronage. By inventing the idea of “second and third lunch,” he played his part in propping up Krakow’s economy.

Justin calls me his mentor which, while incredibly flattering, is not quite true. All of us here at the JCC, myself included, have learned more from Justin than he from us. He has taught us about dedication, professionalism, what it means to devote one’s self to others and what it means to truly care for the Jewish people.

As my good friend leaves Krakow, I am saddened by the prospect of his absence but know that the connections that he has forged with our community, our institution, and with me personally will continue to develop despite the distance.

To Justin I say, “Bon Voyage”, “Bonne Chance”, and – Justin being Justin – “Bon Apetit”!

- Jonathan Ornstein, JCC Krakow Executive Director