A JCC Krakow staff member in a mask and JCC Krakow T-shirt standing next to a senior man in a doorway holding a package.

750+

Care packages
delivered

Preschool-aged children sitting at a table, with one in front throwing her hands in the air and decorations in the background.

237

FRAJDA
school days

A middle aged man standing next to a middle-aged woman blowing a shofar during Rosh Hashanah and looking at her.

700

Community
events

 
A group of people sitting in a circle with some distance between them, in a room at JCC Krakow with Lonka exhibit on the walls and a JCC Krakow banner behind them.

700+

In person & online events

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50

Non Jewish volunteers returned

500,000 Social media reach

550,000

Social media reach

Jonathan Ornstein holding a plaque during a ceremony dedicating a tree in JCC Krakow's garden to Holocaust Survivors. The text on the plaque reads: "On June 25th, 2021. This tree was dedicated to Krakow's Holocaust Survivors on the occasion of the inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day. As its branches continue to grow and strengthen may they provide support, as Holocaust Survivors do for the Jewish people. JCC Krakow"

2020 was a difficult year for all of us. COVID-19 hit Krakow hard, as it did many of your communities. As the primary organization providing services and programming to Krakow’s Jewish community, our JCC mobilized its team of professionals and volunteers to make sure our entire community remained safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.

Nothing was more important to us than caring for our Holocaust survivors. Especially vulnerable to COVID, these pillars of our community, men and women who had survived the Nazis and outlasted communism, needed our help more than ever.  I am proud to say we rose to the challenge. We thank our many friends around the world for giving us the resources we need to take care of Krakow’s Jewish community.
 

- Jonathan Ornstein
JCC Krakow Executive Director

Community Services

Masked middle-aged woman picking up a bag of snacks prepared for the walk in the botanical garden, standing next to the JCC Krakow banner.
Photo showing a table with a covered challah, shabbat candles, individual Rosh Hashanah Seder plates and Rosh Hashanah postcard with wishes.
Four young women sitting behind a table during Chanukah, one holding a Chanukah card with wishes, other one in a special festive sweater and one showing her dreidel earrings. Table is filled with food and drinks.

Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, JCC Krakow was able to continue its Jewish Continuity & COVID-19 Relief Programming in 2021. We strive to provide educational and social programming that enriches the lives of our +770 members and helps them forge their Jewish identities. We offer programming for all age groups, from the children in FRAJDA to the Holocaust Survivors in the Senior Club. In 2021, we made sure that every week was filled with programming for our community, both in-person and online, to make it accessible for all our members. Additionally, we also hosted celebrations for every Jewish holiday and life cycle events of community members. The health and safety of our members is our top priority, and due to the pandemic, for the first half of the year, most of our programs were online. In June, we opened the building and offered in-person programming to fully vaccinated members and those who presented a negative test at the door. In 2021, we hosted over 700 in-person and online events for our community.


As part of our COVID-19 Relief Program, we distributed packages with food, medicine, and sanitary equipment, arranged vaccinations for senior members, and provided transportation to medical appointments. Since the start of the pandemic, we have delivered over 1,750 care packages to senior members and made over 3,500 phone calls. The COVID-19 Relief Program proved to be the largest welfare support project JCC Krakow has ever done. Thanks to this program, our community members could stay home and limit the likelihood of being exposed. We reopened the JCC once we were confident that all of our programs could be run safely.

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COVID care packages delivery

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In-person
meetings

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Online meetings

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Senior hotline

Building a Jewish Future in Krakow

For 13 years, JCC Krakow has been creating a welcoming and supportive space for Krakow’s ever-growing Jewish community. Several of our members have only recently discovered their Jewish heritage, and we are proud to offer them innovative programming that is often their point of entry to Judaism. Additionally, we host meaningful holiday celebrations that enrich their lives and help them understand Jewish culture and traditions.

Picture showing a group of young parents and their children at a table, with chanukah candles in the front.

Jewish Continuity

We aim to create an inclusive space that promotes exploring and developing one's Jewish identity through innovative programming and social gatherings. Each year we welcome new members into our community, many of whom have only recently discovered their Jewish roots, along with those who have not had an opportunity to engage with their Jewish heritage. Each year we host lifecycle events and holiday celebrations to help foster a better understanding of Jewish culture and traditions. Within our community, we have multiple social clubs that allow our members to connect with individuals who have similar life experiences. In 2021, we hosted over 700 in-person and virtual programs for our members and the greater Krakow community.

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Our Community

For the majority of Krakow's Jewish population, we are the primary provider of Jewish continuity programming. Most of our work focuses on intergenerational engagement and helping community members learn from one another as they forge their own modern Jewish identities. At the core of our mission is the belief that there is a place in our community for all of Krakow's Jews and their family members. Since many of our members were unaware of their Jewish roots while growing up, now they turn to the  JCC for educational programming to learn more about the larger Jewish community. Despite our limited in-person operations and a focus on virtual programming,  we still managed to welcome new members into our community.

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FRAJDA

Young preschool-aged children in summer clothing, standing in front of a playground.

JCC Krakow's BBYO Tapuzim Club helps our teenage members develop their Jewish identity while forging friendships that will last for years. The BBYO curriculum covers basic Hebrew, Jewish culture, traditions, history, and holidays in a modern and exciting way. The BBYO Tapuzim Club organized over 47 events over the year and participated in the BBYO's virtual International Convention.

Hillel GIMEL

A group of students showing off a big latke they made in a

The Bagel Club For Young Families was created in 2020 to help children and their parents explore Jewish education through games, workshops, family activities, and Hebrew lessons. Meetings occur every other Sunday, and in 2021, the Bagel Club welcomed several new members and hosted 17 in-person meetings. Several of these new members are Israelis who have moved to Krakow, and thanks to the Bagel Club, they are now a part of the JCC Krakow community.

Achayot

Two young women, smiling and lauging, one showing off a t-shirt with "female power" written on it.

The JCC Krakow Senior Club is a second home for our +250 seniors, including over 50 Holocaust survivors. We provide several services to our seniors, including direct welfare support such as helping them pay for utilities and medical costs, alleviating food insecurity through food and meal deliveries, and providing transportation to medical appointments. We also offer mental and physical health and wellness classes and support. 

 

Each week, since March 2020, staff members have delivered care packages to senior members and called them to check-in. We have delivered over 1,750 care packages and made over 3,500 phone calls to our senior members, ensuring that all of their needs are met. From June until December, we offered the seniors over 80 in-person events at the JCC. Our senior members, including several of our 50 Holocaust survivors, gathered at the JCC daily to socialize and partake in lectures, yoga, rehabilitation, and memory training. 

FRAJDA, JCC Krakow’s Early Childhood Center, serves children ages 1-6 from our growing community of young Jewish families. At FRAJDA, our focus is on comprehensive Jewish education. The curriculum covers traditional early childhood subjects/topics, engages with Jewish history and culture- all guided by Jewish values. FRAJDA has continued to operate throughout the pandemic under special COVID-19 regulations introduced by the Polish Ministry of Education.

BBYO

A group of teenagers posing around a table filled with lit Chanukah candles.

JCC Krakow’s Hillel GIMEL Jewish Student Club welcomes all of Krakow’s Jewish university students. Several Hillel GIMEL members discovered their Jewish roots as teenagers and now embrace their Jewish heritage and culture upon moving to Krakow. Hillel GIMEL is non-denominational and values diversity, including those who identify as secular, reform, orthodox, and unaffiliated. In 2021, Hillel GIMEL students met primarily online, supporting each other virtually until they were reunited in person. Hillel GIMEL hosted 54 events, including Shabbatons, museum outings, and culinary workshops, for its 70 members.

Bagel Club

A group of parents with children around a garden table, during summer. There are scissors, sheets of paper and other creative tools on the table.

The Achayot Club was launched in 2020 to ensure that all female-identifying individuals in our community felt not only heard but that their voices were uplifted. The word ‘achayot’ means ‘sisters’ in Hebrew. For most of 2021, Achayot met primarily online, hosting virtual discussions on topics such as women’s rights, reproductive rights, and menstrual justice. Additionally, the group set up a station with free menstrual products at the JCC.

Senior Club

A group of seniors in the Senior Club, sitting around a long table filled with plates, food and drinks.
JCC Krakow logo

 RIDE FOR THE LIVING 

Collage with pictures of people riding bikes and showing their Ride For The Living jerseys, arranged in squares around the Ride For The Living Global Challenge Logo - a Chai stylized as a bike in front of a green globe icon.

Ride For The Living is a unique, immersive experience commemorating the Holocaust and honoring the rebirth of the Jewish community in Krakow. RFTL combines Holocaust education with a memorable, 60-mile bike ride from the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau to JCC Krakow, from darkness to light, giving participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in Krakow’s Jewish past and present while helping to ensure its future.

 

Last year, we weren't able to host the in-person RFTL so we offered the Global Challenge (GC) as a virtual alternative. GC participants were asked to ride, run, walk, or hike a total of 60 miles, the distance from Auschwitz-Birkenau to JCC Krakow, over the course of the month of June. The GC grew by over 130% from 1,300 participants in 2020 to 3,000+ from 36 countries in 2021. Last year, GC participants clocked a total of 330,000 miles. This year we're excited to welcome participants back to Krakow for the first in-person Ride For The Living since 2019. Additionally, the GC will precede the in-person Ride and participants can use it for motivation while training before coming to Krakow. We are also excited to launch our Thanks-A-Million campaign, where we aim to log 1,000,000 miles this June in honor of the Holocaust survivors in our lives and communities.

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50
PARTNERS

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$150,000
RAISED

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3,000
PARTICIPANTS

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130%
GROWTH SINCE 2020

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36
COUNTRIES

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330,000+ MILES
CYCLED/RUN/WALKED

RIDE FOR THE LIVING GLOBAL CHALLENGE 2021
IN NUMBERS

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Holocaust Survivor Day

JCC Krakow created Holocaust Survivor Day (HSD), a day to celebrate Holocaust survivors, as prior to its creation, there was no dedicated day for survivors. The inaugural HSD was held on June 26, 2021, and this date was selected to honor notable Polish Holocaust survivor Marian Turski. Programming for HSD was held both in-person and online, and across all of our virtual platforms, HSD reached an estimated 1.5 million people in 24 countries. An event was held at HaBima, Israel's National Theater, honoring over 900 Holocaust survivors. They were honored by the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, and Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid. Director Steven Spielberg recorded a message that was presented during the HSD opening panel, in which he endorsed HSD and expressed his support for the initiative. We also hosted the photo exhibit LONKA, which showcases portraits of Holocaust survivors worldwide. Survivors from the  JCC Krakow community also officially added their portraits to the exhibition.

80

partnered organizations

24

countries participating

1,585,000 

online reach

33

unique

media publications

 

300

mentions on

social media

20

in-person events

Holocaust survivor day in numbers

Expenditure & Revenue

We provide our 750+ Jewish members with social, educational, welfare, and other services. Through our efforts, Holocaust survivors, along with their children and grandchildren, are forging a renewed and vibrant Jewish community in Krakow. Many of our members first learn about their Jewish roots as teens or young adults and enjoy the support of a community ready to welcome and teach them about their Jewish heritage. 

 

95% of JCC Krakow's annual operating budget is raised overseas from foundations, federations, synagogues, families, and individuals. Here's how our funds are used.

This Past Year in Pictures