Warsaw’s Jewish theater holds public Shabbat dinner as future uncertain

Katarzyna Markusz

Warsaw, Poland (JTA) — Several hundred people attended a public Shabbat dinner organized by Golda Tencer, director of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, and the Shalom Foundation.

Dinner took place Friday evening at Grzybowski Square in Warsaw, next to the Church of All Saints, which during World War II was located in the Warsaw Ghetto and was where some Jews found shelter.

At the long table were challah, fruits, kosher dishes and sweets. The audience, along with Jewish artists from the theater, sang Shabbat songs at the tables.

“Here at Grzybowski Square we have our roots,” said Golda Tencer, referring to the fact that in June, the owner of the theater building closed the theater and halted performances. “Where there will be actors, there will be a theater.”

Ghelamco, the company that owns the building where the theater operates, blocked entrance to it at the beginning of June. Looking to build a new high-rise at the site and move the theater, the company cited a decision by the district construction supervisor’s office, which called the building a threat to public safety.

But the supervisor’s office has since stated that the building is not a hazard, and that the decision of the district inspector is no longer binding. Ghelamco later changed its mind, telling the management of the Jewish theater that it will receive floor space elsewhere.

It is still not known where the new theater will open for its new artistic season starting in October.

Formed in 1950, the troupe is a link to the rich pre-Holocaust culture of Poland’s Yiddish-speaking Jewish community. Earlier this year, Poland’s president honored the actors for their contributions to Polish and Polish-Jewish culture.

Public Shabbat dinner for the residents of Warsaw was organized as part of the 13thannual Singer’s Warsaw Festival.

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