Thanks to our incredible 2015 Ride For The Living participants who raised funds for our Holocaust Survivors, we've been able to launch several new programs for our seniors! For the new year, we've just launched Senior University - a continuing education program to reengage our members in academic learning.

Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich & JCC Krakow's eldest member - Julian.

Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich & JCC Krakow's eldest member - Julian.

Professors and lecturers from Krakow's Jagiellonian University will come weekly to the JCC to lecture on the history of Krakowian Jews and on topics related to Jewish culture, customs, and tradition. 

Senior University

Senior University

In addition to Senior University, the Senior Club has a full year of programming and activities including new classes such including English, mind training, and technology; returning programming includes yoga, rehabilitation, sewing class, culinary workshops, choir, and intergenerational activities. 

Click the button below to learn about how those programs made an impact on the senior community from Malgorzata, Zofia, and Fryda. 

Thanks to the funds raised during the 2015 Ride For The Living, JCC Krakow has also issued first ever calendar featuring Polish Holocaust Survivors.

This is the first calendar featuring Polish Holocaust survivors and, we believe, the first calendar ever to feature Holocaust survivors. The full-color calendar, with photos from noted Krakowian photographer Bartolomeo Koczenasz, reflects the survivors’ lives and achievements after the trauma of World War II. 

“This calendar is a celebration of life. Seeing these survivors who have been through so much yet remain so hopeful inspires me as I'm sure this calendar will inspire others, " says Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich.

After the war ended, most Holocaust survivors left Poland. Among those who stayed, the majority were forced to hide their identities during the difficult communist period. Since the fall of communism in 1989, Jewish life in Poland has undergone a miraculous revival and JCC Krakow serves as the focal point for the rebirth of Krakow’s Jewish community. For these survivors, JCC Krakow is the place to explore and celebrate their Jewish heritage with their children, grandchildren, and future generations. 

“Our survivors are the cornerstone of our community and serve as an invaluable resource for Jewish communities across the world, but especially for young Poles, many of whom have only recently learned they are Jewish,” says Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director of JCC Krakow. 

“For me, the JCC is a very important place where I can meet Polish Jews. I am particularly happy that the JCC looks after us, the Child Survivors of the Holocaust,” shares Anna Grygiel - Huryn, 73, Holocaust Survivor and JCC Krakow member.


"I'm 82 years old and I survived the Nazi occupation by being hidden as a Catholic. Over the past six years, the JCC has become the center of my life. I’m so thankful to Ride for the Living for making it possible for me to travel to Israel for the first time with my fellow Senior Club members,” shares Jan Libin.

The inaugural Ride For The Living made an impact beyond the participants' meaningful experience - it made 30 Holocaust survivors' dreams come true. Funds raised from the 2014 inaugural Ride for the Living sponsored JCC Krakow's Holocaust Survivors Mission to Israel in March 2015. Child survivors of the Holocaust - all from Krakow, joined the week-long mission led by Executive Director Jonathan Ornstein and Rabbi Avi Baumol. For some, it was their first time in Israel and, for most, their only opportunity to travel with fellow community members.

A week in Israel touring Haifa, the Golan Heights. Tiberias, Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv showed these survivors Israel's history reflected in their own lives: a story of survival against all odds, a story of hope, and the resilience of a land and of a people. The mission met with diplomats, toured the Knesset, visited the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem where survivors pointed out the names of those who saved them and their families, among many other activities. The survivors, the cornerstone of Krakow's Jewish community, came home filled with stories and impressions of Israel. The trip has made an impact on us all. 

Please check out the blog and photo album from the trip to learn more.  

Read all about the trip in our daily blog which shares our seniors' highlights, activities and impressions of Israel.