Governing Board

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Board Chair.Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Board Chair. The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Schudrich has a long and rich history of involvement in the Jewish communities of both Eastern Europe and Asia. As a student in the 1970s, Rabbi Schudrich began his travels to Eastern Europe, leading Jewish groups and meeting with members of what remained of the Jewish communities in the former Eastern bloc. After receiving rabbinic ordination, he served as rabbi of Japan’s Jewish community from 1983-1989. In 1992, he returned to Warsaw and in June 2000 became the Rabbi of Warsaw and Łódź. In December 2004, he was appointed to the position of Chief Rabbi of Poland. Rabbi Schudrich serves Poland’s growing number of Jewish communities and as an official interlocutor between the Polish government and the Catholic Church.

 

Janusz Makuch, Vice Chair.Janusz Makuch, director of the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, was born in Pulawy, Poland in 1960 and he studied Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He and Krzysztof Gierat jointly organized the first Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow in 1988. Modest though its schedule may have been, the first Festival had enormous symbolic significance: it was devoted to a culture that had been sentenced to oblivion in communist Poland.

 

Over the last 30 years, the Festival has become one of the largest cultural events in the entire world. It continues to celebrate contemporary Jewish culture in Israel and in the Diaspora: the most recent festival featured over 250 events spread over 10 days, including concerts, educational workshops, exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, and theater productions. In 2006 the Jewish Culture Festival Association received the Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize for its work in furthering the peaceful coexistence and cooperation of distinct communities, religions, and cultures. For his work, Mr. Makuch has been awarded the Irena Sendlerowa Award by the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, and the Order of Polonia Restituta—the highest civil distinction in Poland.

 

Dr. Eleonora Bergman, Board Member.Dr. Eleonora Bergman, is a Polish architectural historian who works on the preservation of Jewish heritage in Poland. She was the director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw from 2007 to 2011. Dr. Bergman studied architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, going on to work at the Institute of Urban Planning and Architecture. She later researched architectural monuments in Poland for the Arts Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1991, she began work with the Jewish Historical Institute, documenting Jewish religious buildings and landmarks. Bergman received her PhD from the Institute of Art History of the University of Warsaw in 1997. She has published a number of books, articles and monographs. Bergman serves as a member of the council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.  In 2012, she was awarded the French Legion of Honour.

 

Dr. Eleonora Bergman, Board Member.Michał Wodziński, is a Professor of Jewish history and literature, and head of the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław. The scope of his academic interests ranges from the social history of Jews in the 19th century to the history of Jews in Silesia and Jewish material culture, especially the history of Hasidism and Haskalah. His publications include more than 100 articles in Polish, English, Hebrew, French, and Czech, nine books authored and one co-authored, and six volumes co-edited.