Center for Jewish Culture shows life in snapshots

As part of its “Encounters with Jewish Culture” program, presenting a number of concerts, lectures and other meetings, the Center for Jewish Culture has organized a photography exhibit, displaying a collection of works by Bogdan Borkowski.

Taken in April of last year, the photographs depict the daily life of residents in Le Marais, the Jewish Quarter of Paris, primarily made up of Rue des Rosiers and surrounding streets. The scenes, vibrant with bright colors and movement, portray the liveliness and distinct spirit of the “pletzl,” Yiddish for “little square.”

While focusing on the small businesses set up in the area, such as shops with books and devotional items, bakeries and delicatessens, restaurants and hair salons, Borkowski’s photographs also depict relations among the residents, creating a feeling of friendly community. Culture and religion evidently provide a key theme in the series, through scenes of people congregating outside a synagogue, musicians playing and singing in the street, and a Torah learning Center for children.

The collection successfully conveys the energetic atmosphere of the Parisian Jewish Quarter, while also capturing the authenticity of the moment, as the neighborhood disappears nearly day by day as small shops are progressively bought out and residents exit, often to Israel.

In response to his perception of a cherished lifestyle under threat, Borkowski adopts the role of a guardian of memories, attempting to save a vanishing world from oblivion. One striking example of this aim is a three-photo series, depicting the story of a Kosher market being closed, remodeled, and finally reopened in its latest guise – a designer boutique.

Photographer and filmmaker of Polish descent, Borkowski studied in Paris, where he has been living since 1972. As a resident of Le Marais for over 12 years, Borkowski feels as though he owed the exhibit to his chosen home. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe as well as overseas, in Toronto and New York. In addition, Borkowski works with a number of press agencies and publications.

According to Weronika Rehman, organizer of exhibits shown in the Center for Jewish Culture, the display of Borkowski’s photos is not to be missed, as it is fascinating to compare Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter in Krakow, to that of Paris. “It’s like a collision of two worlds,” she says.

The grand opening of the exhibit, attended by the artist, takes place at 18:00 on Thursday, September 20, in the main reception area of the center. The exhibit will continue until the start of November.

For more information, contact or visit the Center for Jewish Culture ul. Meiselsa 17 tel. +48 12 430 64 49, 430 64 52 fax +48 12 430 64 97

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