It is as easy as crossing the bridge to get from Podgórze – the place of torment of the Cracow Jews – to Kazimierz, their prewar home. Once there, you can for hours sit in synagogues, wander the narrow streets paved with slippery cobble-stone, bend over ornamented tombstones at the Remu Cemetery.

The Bałaban tracks sightseeing walk. From one gate of the Jewish town to another, from one synagogue to another. Mikvah, the ritual poultry slaughterhouse, the Hebrew High School, numerous prayer houses… and it is just a part of the Jewish legacy in the city of King Krak.

The Kazimierz legends sightseeing walk. Of the poor Jew Ajzyk who sought after a treasure far far away, whilst it was quite close. Of the newly wed couple who disobeyed the Sabbath and was severely punished by the God. Of the always shining candle in the window of cabalis Natan Spira – the Kazimierz lantern for late passer-bys.

You can easily go on for a long time yet…


jewish haiku

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graybearded old man
deeper in heart than door frame
scar of mezuzah


chill of synagogue
a thirteen-year-old schoolboy
waiting for minyan


old looking courtyard
sharply penetrates nostrils
the scent of cholent


frequent returning
at doorstep of one-time home
klezmer’s violin


marketplace at shul
in cantor singing entwined
stallholders' shouting


the second and third
kosher peisahovka glass
Eastertime at home


long beards grey with age
in a dancing procession
holy ark opened

Aleksandra Buchaniec-Bartczak

translated by Aneta Dąbrowska

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