The Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland with Jonathan Ornstein

Date: May 14, 2019
Time: 5:30 pm
Location:  Show map
Boulder JCC
6007 Oreg Ave
Boulder, Colorado 80303
Contact: Nancy LipseyPhone: 303-998-1900 x1050Email:

This program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Jonathan Ornstein is the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Krakow. He will be visiting Boulder on May 14 to talk about the rebirth of Jewish life in Poland. He will also be answering questions about the upcoming Ride for the Living, a 60 mile bike ride that begins at Auschwitz-Birkenau and concludes at the JCC Krakow. Local community member, Lisa Effress, is producing a documentary about the ride with the working title I RIDE FOR THE LIVING. Effress will join Ornstein for the Q&A about Ride for the Living. More on the documentary below. 
5:30 pm | Q&A about the Ride for the Living 
6:00 pm | The Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland 
Tuesday, May 14 | 5:30 pm | Free | REGISTER HERE
About Jonathan Ornstein
Since its opening in April 2008 by HRH, The Prince of Wales, Jonathan has served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, an organization devoted to rebuilding Jewish life in Krakow. The JCC boasts over 700 Jewish members, welcomes 10,000 visitors a month, and has become one of Poland’s most visible signs of Jewish revival.
Prior to the JCC’s opening in 2008, he lectured in Modern Hebrew at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University Department of Jewish Studies for 6 years and founded the “Gesher” association for Polish-Israeli dialogue. A native of New York City, Jonathan moved to Israel in 1994, living for 7 years on a kibbutz in the Negev desert and serving for 2 years in a combat unit in the I.D.F. before making his way to Poland in 2001.

He is a founding member of the Krakow Association of Christians and Jews where he serves as vice president. He also serves on the boards of the Krakow branch of the Child Survivors of the Holocaust organization and JCC Global. In 2014 Jonathan was awarded the Cohon Award for services benefitting the Jewish People and in 2015 he was awarded the “Bene Merito” medal by the Polish Foreign Ministry for his work promoting Poland.

I RIDE FOR THE LIVING (working title)

The documentary film I Ride for the Living (Working title) follows an inspirational 60 mile bike ride from Auschwitz to the Krakow JCC in the Summer of 2019. Using the ride to juxtapose 75 years of history, the film highlights a story once thought to have ended with the Holocaust which continues on with the rebirth of a thriving, modern Polish Jewish community.
Among the 300 or so riders taking part in the event this year, we will experience this ride from death to life, darkness to light, through the lens of a young British man who inspired the ride, and a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz, both of whom share a passion for riding and raising awareness about this horrific stain on human history. Their newly formed friendship will provide us with a penetrating look at the past and the present and how we got here.
The story of this ride, and the resurgence of the vibrant Jewish community in the shadows of Auschwitz, will engage us in a much needed dialog about the serious gaps both in awareness of the basic facts, as well as knowledge of the Holocaust, and the need for more comprehensive education to combat the unfortunate growing state of Holocaust ignorance–and even denial–around the world today. The importance of awareness and knowledge not only about this genocide but all genocides, is critical for developing empathy, understanding, and respect for humanity.