Each month we will share a blog post about the Volunteer of the Month featured in our JCC 2017 calendar which features the young adults, most of whom are not Jewish who spend their time volunteering at the JCC to help us rebuild Jewish life in Krakow.
Where are you from?
I currently live and study in Krakow, but I was born in Tarnów.
Why did you decide to volunteer at the JCC?
I became interested in Jewish culture when I was still an elementary school student. This was due in no small part to the influence of my aunt Ania, who was a Jewish studies major at the Jagiellonian University. Every time she came back to Tarnów, her hometown, she would share with us what she had learned. She was also teaching me basic Yiddish. I was fascinated with the object of her studies, with Jewish history, with the language. My senior year of high school I started attending a preparation course in drawing because I wanted to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts. The course was taught in Krakow on Fridays and Saturdays. Therefore, on weekends I would stay at my aunt Ania’s place in Krakow. One time, after I had completed my studies for the day, I went to the JCC to see my aunt and join her for Shabbat dinner. That was the day when my fascination with Jewish culture began in earnest. I had been to Shabbat dinners before, but nevertheless, I was amazed and surprised by the atmosphere at that Shabbat dinner at the JCC. So I kept coming back. One night there weren’t enough volunteers to help out, so my aunt asked me if I would lend a hand. Obviously, I agreed right away, I was happy to be able to contribute in any way I could. Then, I started to help more often and I felt my connection with the JCC grow stronger. At some point I realized that this place had become part of my life, and therefore, I decided to be join the volunteer program.
What is your best JCC memory/the person you met/the experience you had?
I could probably write a book about my memories from all of the years I spent at the JCC. I have met so many wonderful people there, people who became my friends and family. Some of my favorite moments were my first Shabbat dinner with the community, my first time participating in Ride For The Living, and the first group of tourists I brought to the JCC courtyard on a walking tour. The best thing about being a member of the JCC family is that I know there are many more wonderful memories to be made!
What is one of your favorite things at the JCC?
My favorite thing at the JCC? The people I’ve met here. Thanks to them, I want to spend as much time here as I can every day, learning new things about Jewish history and culture.