Our youngest son Jake left for Poland on September 2nd to work as a JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps Fellow. His yearlong assignment will be to work at the JCC in Krakow, where he will help to support Jewish life revival, care for Holocaust survivors, and feed hundreds of Ukrainian refugees daily.
Jake first told me he wanted to spend his first year after graduation in Poland last summer. He initially explored applying for a Fulbright and found a professor in Warsaw who would sponsor him, but then realized he wanted to do something with a service orientation rather than research. After speaking to Jonathan Ornstein, who opened the Krakow JCC in 2008, Jake knew this is where he had to serve!
As someone whose family was expelled from Poland in 1969 by the Russian-run government, and who came to the USA as a refugee, I never imagined one of my children returning to Poland.
We all want the best for our children, and sometimes our own fears rise up watching them make life choices. I felt this way and had to remind myself, “This is Jake’s life; you’ve lived yours the way you chose.”
Jake is settling well in Krakow and is finding the work very meaningful. His first week there he was invited to speak in Warsaw at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Forum for Dialogue, which works to repair Polish-Jewish relations, and helped to plan his Bar Mitzvah in Poland nine summers ago. Watching this video helped me to understand that Jake is in Poland to heal my family’s history and to start a whole new chapter.