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2015 Consular Report
2015 ANNUAL CONSULAR REPORT
Submitted January 14, 2016
Honorary Consuls for the Republic of Poland
in the San Francisco Bay Area
THADDEUS N. TAUBE and CHRISTOPHER A. KEROSKY
I. Description of the internal situation within the consular region
- Internal social and political structure (with an account of the outcome of Presidential, Congressional and important local elections).
- Hon. Consuls Taube and Kerosky are in communication with the mayor of San Francisco, Mayor Edwin Lee. The governor of California, Governor Jerry Brown, is a long-time friend of Consul Taube. The Consuls both know all of the congressional representatives and the State of California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom.
- Hon. Consuls Taube and Kerosky organized and participated in the Flag Raising Ceremony and Polish Constitution Day at City Hall in San Francisco on May 4 alongside the Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee, the Protocol Officer, Charlotte Shultz, and Chief of Staff for the City of San Francisco, Steve Kawa. The event was conducted in conjunction with Bay Area leaders of Polish-American groups. In attendance were several government officials, Polish American community leaders, and Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Special Envoy of Poland’s Foreign Affairs for Relations with the Jewish Diaspora. Consuls Taube and Kerosky recieved a signed letter from Mayor Lee endorsing the renewal of the Sister Cities relationship between San Francisco and Kraków, which was given to Mayor Majchrowski of Kraków. San Francisco Mayor Lee spoke about his plans to visit Kraków in the upcoming year, and recieved a birthday serenade in Polish, as his birthday is May 4. Dr. Rejak related what an honor it was for him to be present at the Flag Raising Ceremony and to speak at the Commonwealth Club of California and at UC Berkeley during his stay in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Rejak presented the Mayor with the exhibition catalogue of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. As is customary, the Mayor proclaimed May 4th as Polish Constitution Day in San Francisco and presented a framed declaration to both Consuls.
- Hon. Consuls Taube and Kerosky represented the Polish Consulate at the annual Holiday Party of the Mayor of San Francisco, which took place at the home of Gordon and Ann Getty in San Francisco, December 9. The event was attended by most of the other members of the Consular Corps, as well as the Chief of Protocol for the Mayor, Charlotte Shultz, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Steve Kawa, and Trade Representative Mark Chandler.
- Our Consular offices regularly attend the meetings of the Consular Corps. Deputy Consul Mary Kay Stuvland attended the meetings on: January 13, February 10, March 10, April 14, May 12, June 9, September 8, October 13, and November 10.
- Hon. Consul’s relations with the local authorities and institutions (including state members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate), and possibilities of engaging them in the consular work.)
- Visa Waiver Program:
Honorary Consuls Taube and Kerosky continually meet and correspond with local authorities and institutions as relevant. Of utmost priority is advocacy for the Visa Waiver Program. We have continued our work on a campaign whereby the U.S. Government would eliminate the visa requirements for Polish citizens to enter the U.S.
- Visa Waiver Program:
II. Description of the cooperation with Poland within the consular region
- Regional cooperation (e.g. sister cities).
- The Consulates play a leadership role in the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association. The relationship, which Hon. Consul Taube initiated in July 2007, was discussed between the Mayors, their offices and the Consular offices over 18 months. In May 2009, the agreements were prepared and were officially signed in Kraków by Mayor Jacek Majchrowski and, representing Mayor Gavin Newsom, Consul Kerosky and Consul Taube, on July 1, 2009. The San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities relationship is the first such Eastern European relationship for San Francisco. Consul Taube and Consul Kerosky co-host many Sister Cities events. For further information please see the website: sfkrakow.org; Facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoKrakowSisterCities; and blog: http://citysister.org/. This relationship was renewed this year.
- Economic and scientific cooperation (including universities).
- Poland Day in Silicon Valley at Stanford University. Poland Day is an annual networking event aimed at enhancing collaboration between science and business in the context of cross-regional cooperation between Poland and the United States. Scientists (including graduates of the Top 500 Innovators Program) and innovative companies representing mainly the IT, ICT and advanced biomedical technologies preparing to enter the U.S. market as well as experts from Silicon Valley, including business and legal advisors and investors were among the participants of this year’s edition of the Poland Day. This year’s edition took place on May 26-26, 2015.
- Silicon Valley Acceleration Center
- Hon. Consul Kerosky has continuously worked closely with the Silicon Valley Acceleration Poland (SVAC) Center since it opened in 2013. This continued in 2015.
- Hon. Consul Kerosky met with Minister Paweł Pietrasieński, Director of the Trade and Investment Section of the Embassy of Poland, during his visits to the San Francisco Area in 2015. He attended a special dinner and wine tasting that Minister Pietrasienski held in Napa in June 2015 with a delegation from the largest Polish utility company, PGE. Also attending was Lukas Lipinski, an officer of the Trade & Investment Section of the Polish Embassy.
- Hon. Consul Kerosky has prepared and revised a special Guide to Opening a Business in California in both English and Polish languages for SVAC program participants. Consul Kerosky also prepared a Guide to Visas for Businessmen for SVAC participants. Both guides are for use in the business trainings taking place in coordination with the SVAC.
- Hon. Consul Kerosky has also met with SVAC staff Ana Bielicka, Beata Adamczyk, and Tomasz Kolodziejak, at the SVAC offices in San Francisco, to discuss continued cooperation and assistance with SVAC programs.
- Hon. Consul Kerosky, through his assistant Paweł Trela, has provided training to SVAC participants as a mentor in corporate, contract, and business law in the U.S. as well as advised participants on other legal subjects including visas. Mr. Trela has provided these services on a regular basis at SVAC throughout 2015.
- Cultural and educational cooperation (e.g. student exchange)
- Elizabeth Rynecki lectured about her visit to Poland and her quest to locate her grandfather’s artworks at the Jewish Community Library, San Francisco, January 8. Rynecki’s film, “Chasing Portraits,” chronicles her searches through Canada, Israel, Poland, and the United States for her grandfather Moshe Rynecki’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures. Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation has provided support for the post-production of Rynecki’s film.
- The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco featured POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews’ exhibition “Letters to Afar” and Galicia Jewish Museum’s “Poland and Palestine: Two Lands and Two Skies,” February 26-May 25. “Letters to Afar” was originally commissioned as the first temporary exhibition at POLIN Museum in Warsaw. Created by internationally acclaimed Budapest-based filmmaker and video-artist Péter Forgács in collaboration with the New York City-based band The Klezmatics, the exhibit revisits, rearranges, and recontextualizes rare amateur movies made by Jewish immigrants from the United States who visited their hometowns in Poland during the 1920-30s alongside official newsreels and Polish cinema of that time. Created by the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, “Poland and Palestine: Two Lands and Two Skies” shows a selection of 15,000 portraits made in the 1930s by photographer Ze’ev Aleksandrowicz in both Kraków and in Palestine. The photographs have become the starting point for telling stories about the relationship between these two worlds. Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation supported these travelling exhibitions.
- Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation sponsored Polish artists Aneta Rostkowska & Jakub Woynarowski’s attendance at the symposium “Curatorial Practice: The Next 25 Years” held at the California College of the Arts, Oakland, California, March 14-15. Rostkowska and Woynarowski discussed their roles as Polish curators.
- Deputy Consul Shana Penn attended a private reception in honor of Canadian Justice Rosalie Abella, who, when she was appointed as judge, she was the first Jewish woman to be appointed as judge as well as the youngest Canadian. The reception was held on April 28.
- Ellie Shapiro, former director of the Jewish Music Festival in Berkeley, spoke about her stay in Poland as a Fulbright Fellow and her Ph.D. research at the Graduate Theological Union in Jewish music originating in Eastern Europe at the Jewish Community Library, Berkeley, CA on May 3. Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation sponsored the lecture.
- Polish Constitution Day celebration, with keynote speaker Polish Consul Brymora, was held at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, May 3. Aleksandra Makuch attended on behalf of Hon. Consul Taube.
- The conference “From Ibrahim ibn Yakub to 6 Anielewicz Street,” the largest discussion of the history and culture of Polish Jews in Poland, was held at the POLIN Museum, via the Global Education Outreach Program, which Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation sponsors, May 11-14. Its goals were to familiarize scholars with the Core Exhibition and evaluate the state of knowledge of the history and culture of Polish Jews. The two bodies organizing it were the POLIN Museum and the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute. The conference was attended by more than 430 scholars and members of the general public from at least 13 countries.
- San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities organization created a new partnership with the Miłosz International Literary Festival in Kraków, May 14-17. Deputy Consul Penn attended a number of festival events and met with American poet Robert Hass, one of the featured poets at the Festival.
- Through his philanthropic foundation, Hon. Consul Taube sponsored the visit of Cary Wolinsky, co-producer of the film “Raise the Roof,” in the San Francisco Bay Area during the film’s screening at the 35th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July-August. The film follows the research and reconstruction of the Gwoździec Synagogue, the centerpiece of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews’ Core Exhibition. Deputy Consul Shana Penn and Taube Foundation staff Vera Hannush attended.
- Delegation to Kraków in July for the 25th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków
Representing the Honorary Consuls for the Republic of Poland in the San Francisco Bay Area, Deputy Consul and San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association Vice President Shana Penn attended the 25th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. Ms. Penn participated in several panels during the week-long Jewish Culture Festival, including one on Polish Cultural Institutions, such as the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk, the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. At the same time, Ms. Penn met with Kraków community leaders and officials in promotion of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Cooperation Agreement, including the U.S. Consul General.
- Meetings with Officials of the City of Kraków
In July, Deputy Consul and San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association Vice President Shana Penn had meetings and discussions with officials of the City of Kraków including
- U.S. Consul General Ellen Germain
- Polish Consul General Urszula Gacek
- Hon. Bogusław Kosmider, Chairman of the Kraków City Council
- Hon. Tadeusz Trzmiel, Vice President of the Mayor of Kraków
- Hon. Consul Taube was honored with the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit for his decade-long mission supporting – and cultivating significant additional American support – for the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and Jewish life and culture in Poland.
- A group of Hillel International professionals from the U.S., Israel, and Russia toured Poland with Taube Jewish Heritage Tours, sponsored by Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation, to learn about Jewish revival in Poland, July 13-21, 2015. On their study tour, they visited institutions and organizations, such as the Jewish Community Centers in Kraków and Warsaw, the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, and the Galicia Jewish Museum. They met with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Chief Curator of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, among many others, to learn about the revival of the Jewish community in Poland.
- The Honorary Consulates of the San Francisco Bay Area announced the recipients of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture’s 8th annual Irena Sendler Memorial Award. The award, in memory of the late Irena Sendler, is granted to Polish citizens who have worked to preserve and promote Jewish heritage in Poland. This year there were two recipients: in October, the award was given to the late Dr. Jan Kulczyk, businessman and entrepreneur, founder and director of Kulczyk Investments S.A., and co-founder of Kulczyk Silverstein Properties with American Larry Silverstein. Kulczyk donated the largest single gift to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Dr. Kulczyk established a philanthropic foundation, served as the Board Chair of Green Cross International, and, via Kulczyk Investments, sponsored the Polish Olympic team. Hon. Consul Taube and Deputy Consul Shana Penn presented Dr. Kulczyk’s posthumous award to his daughter, Dominika Kulczyk, on October 13 at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, at a ceremony co-hosted by Taube Philanthropies, POLIN Museum, Association of the Jewish Historical Institute, and the Polish National Opera; and earlier in July, the award was given to co-recipient Krzysztof Czyżewski, social activist, scholar, and founding director of the Borderland Foundation. He was honored for fostering multicultural heritage in Poland, especially Jewish heritage. Czyżewski established the Borderland Foundation in Sejny in 1990, Borderland Center of Arts, Cultures, and Nations in 1991, and Borderland Publishing House, as well as the magazine Krasnogruda, in 1993. Mr. Czyżewski was presented with his award on July 3, at an official celebration of the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków.
- POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Core Exhibition’s opening, October 9-11, 2015. POLIN celebrated the anniversary with a series of events entitled “Made in POLIN,” featuring premieres of new artistic projects, meetings, discussions, and workshops. The inaugural POLIN Award was given to Tomasz Pietrasiewicz, founder and director of “Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN” Centre (active in Lublin since 1998), a governmental cultural institution that uses the arts to research and educate on the history of Lublin’s Jewish community. The POLIN Award is to be granted to a person or institution working to safeguard the memory of Polish Jews and build respect among Poles, Jews and the societies of Europe and the world. Mr. Pietrasiewicz is also the recipient of the Taube Foundation’s 2014 Irena Sendler Memorial Award. Hon. Consul Taube and Deputy Consul Shana Penn attended the anniversary events. Hon. Consul’s philanthropic foundation, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, and the Koret Foundation are, together, the largest private donors to the POLIN Museum; they have jointly committed and organized over $16 million in support of the Museum.
- Hon. Consul Taube and Deputy Consul Shana Penn met with Prof. Marcin Wodzinski, Jewish Studies Faculty Chair at Wrocław University, October 10. The meeting concluded with Hon. Consul Taube pledging to help support a new space for Jewish Studies and its library in collaboration with the University.
- Honorary Consul Taube and Deputy Consul Shana Penn met with Polish President Andrzej Duda’s Cabinet Minister Adam Kwiatkowski, October 13. They discussed the work of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland Foundation in Poland and in the context of the Polish Diaspora.
- Deputy Consul Shana Penn participated in the Roundtable "Considering Gender: The Impact on our Scholarship and the Profession, Part II," at the Annual Conference of the Association of East European and Slavic Studies in Philadelphia, November 19-22.
- The Taube Foundation partnered with Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces and MI POLIN, a Polish Judaica design team, in a donation to benefit the Israel Defense Forces in early December. Taube arranged for 500 mezuzot – Jewish ritual artifacts placed on doorposts to protect the home – to Israeli Defense Force soldiers and bases for Hanukkah. Helena Czernek and Aleksander Prugar of MI POLIN, based in Warsaw, designed and produced the mezuzot.
- 12th Annual Slavic Choral Christmas Concert at the Church of the Nativity in San Francisco, December 11. The Łowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble presented the 12th annual Slavic Choral Christmas Concert, a rich tapestry of seasonal carols and winter songs of East-Central Europe and the Balkans, featuring traditionally costumed community artists from the Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Jewish, Moldovan, Polish, and Ukrainian Bay Area populations. The event was sponsored by Sister Cities Association. Taube Foundation staff Vera Hannush attended the event on behalf of Hon. Consul Taube.
- The Honorary Consulates of the San Francisco Bay Area hosted Polishacademics and directors of Polish cultural institutions throughout the year:
- Hon. Consul Taube organized and sponsored a trip for six members of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews’ Education Department to the San Francisco Bay Area as a part of the Museum’s Global Education Outreach Program, February 1-15. The educators visited as ambassadors to exchange skills and experiences in Jewish education with educators from a variety of academic and cultural institutions. They met with different Jewish museums and organizations in the Bay Area (Contemporary Jewish Museum, Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center, Facing History and Ourselves, Jewish LearningWorks, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life, and Stanford University). They continued their trip to Los Angeles where they were trained at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation’s “IWitness” program.
- As part of POLIN Museum’s Global Education Outreach Program supported by Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation, Dr. Samuel Kassow, historian of two galleries in POLIN Museum’s Core Exhibition, lectured to university and community audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area, March 10-13. He lectured on POLIN Museum’s Interwar Gallery at Stanford University on March 11, co-hosted by the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford. His second lecture, entitled “Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis,” took place at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life, in Berkeley on March 12, co-hosted by U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies, the Graduate Theological Union’s Center for Jewish Studies, and the Magnes.
- MI POLIN, Polish Judaica design team Helena Czernek and Aleksander Prugar, visited the Bay Area to open an exhibition of their work at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (April 1 - June 25). In honor of the opening of their exhibition they delivered a few talks on their Jewish-Polish art. Their events were well attended, and audiences were eager to hear about MI POLIN’s role as part of the new Jewish art movement in Poland. MI POLIN’s artwork is now available in the OK Store and Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, and at the San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum’s store.
- Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Special Envoy of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs for Relations with the Jewish Diaspora, visited the San Francisco Bay Area, May 4-5. He attended the San Francisco-Kraków Polish Flag Raising at San Francisco City Hall, and gave talks at the Commonwealth Club of California and at UC Berkeley.
- Hon. Consul Taube invited Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich to visit the San Francisco Bay Area, September 3-5. Rabbi Schudrich spoke at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation about the state of Jewish revival in Poland.
- Together with the Koret Foundation, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture hosted Waldemar Dąbrowski in September 2015. Ann and Gordon Getty organized a reception in his honor on September 5. The guests included benefactors of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and patrons of the city’s opera, symphony and museums. Hon. Consul Taube and wife Dianne hosted Mr. Dąbrowski at the Opera Ball on September 7, preceding the opening night performance.
- 2015 Lectures by Shana Penn, Consular Deputy:
- Klub Jagiellonski, Kraków, Poland, February 18, 2015; Kino Pod Baranami and Piwnica Pod Baranami, Kraków, Poland, February 19, 2015: Screening and Discussion: “Solidarity According to Women.” Panel discussion moderated by Deputy Consul Shana Penn, including discussion of her book, Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (University of Michigan Press, 2005), newly published as Sekret Solidarnośći by W.A.B. publisher in Warsaw.
- Jewish Culture Festival, Kraków, Poland, July 1, 2015, “Discussion: A Tale of Three Museums” on adopted new models of historical narratives to educate broad and diverse audiences in Poland and around the world on significant chapters in Polish history, with new understandings of Polish national and transnational identities, looking at the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk, the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
- Presentation at the Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków, July 13, 2015, “Women in Solidarity.” Deputy Consul Penn is the author of Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (University of Michigan Press, 2005), newly published as Sekret Solidarnośći by W.A.B. publisher in Warsaw.
- New Publications/ Educational Resources:
- Field Guide to Jewish Warsaw and Krakow
Published by the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland in Warsaw in 2012 with support from Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation, the Guide begins with a concise overview of the thousand years of Jewish life in Poland and then presents eight specially designed walking tours, four in each city, accompanied by full-color maps, detailed directions, and illustrated discussions of important sites and personages. The Guide was created by an international team of experts and writers and is used by the Taube Jewish Heritage Tour program. It is currently being developed as a mobile app.
E-newsletter co-published by the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. Three editions have been published since the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture began to organize the production in early 2015. For over 20 years, the Gazeta newsletter has reported current affairs and program developments in Polish Jewish scholarship and communal life.
- POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews Grand Opening Media Kit
Created by Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation to promote the POLIN Museum’s Grand Opening to U.S. audiences.
- Historical Timeline of 1,000 Years of Polish Jewish History
In appreciation of the millennium of Jewish history and accomplishments in Poland, Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation has assembled and updated an authoritative timeline of the significant events of Jewish life in Poland, so often limited in modern-day sensibilities as exclusively the site of the Holocaust. Beginning with the arrival of Abraham ben Yaakov in the year 965, the illustrated timeline follows the rich and complex history of Polish Jewry through the centuries up to the present day.
- Deep Roots, New Branches: Personal Essays by Four Generations of Polish Jews on the Rebirth of Jewish Life since 1989
In 2014, the 25th anniversary of the victory of democracy over communism in Poland, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland, and the Honorary Consulate for the Republic of Poland in the San Francisco Bay Area presented this newly released publication, titled Deep Roots, New Branches: Personal Essays on the Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland since 1989.
This collection of personal essays by leading Jewish thinkers and activists in Poland, representing four generations, provides invaluable insights into how the nation’s democratic aspirations made the reclamation of Jewish life possible. Though their assessments of the present and expectations for the future may differ, the authors are united in their commitment to a continued presence of Jews in a country that has been their homeland for ten centuries. This publication enables us to learn about Poland’s past, present and future from inside the culture, which today is free and democratic, a member of NATO and the European Union, an ally of the US and Israel, and protective of its ethnic minorities. Symbolic of Poland’s commitment to contemporary Jewish culture is the magnificent POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, situated on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto.
Deep Roots, New Branches is divided into five thematic sections, based on the age and perspective of the contributors: Fighters: Survivors who stayed in Poland or returned after the fall of the Soviet Bloc; Dreamers: Activists who dared to face down authoritarianism and reclaim their Jewish birthright; Expats: Foreigners who came, stayed, and made Poland their home; The Third Generation: Those raised in the shadow of the Iron Curtain as Communism fell; and The Millennials: Young people effecting change in today’s free and democratic Poland. To offer perspective on all these viewpoints, we included a timeline of recent Polish Jewish history from 1989 to the present.
- Hillel Trip to Poland
To follow up with potential future partnerships with Hillel International, Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation published a brochure of testimonials from the participants of the group of Hillel International professionals who toured Poland to learn about Jewish revival in Poland, July 2015 (see II.3.m.). Each participant mentioned their personal transformations of learning and understanding of Jewish life and Poland.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Relations with the Jewish Diaspora) has reproduced Deep Roots, New Branches and the Timeline in English and would like to arrange for their translation into Spanish, French, and Hebrew. Consul Taube's philanthropic foundation has also translated Deep Roots, New Branches into Polish.
- Field Guide to Jewish Warsaw and Krakow
- The image of Poland in local mass media.
- Interviews and Op-Eds published in 2015:
- JWeekly, November 5, 2015, "In Polish town, tracing a path from long-gone mezuzah to our past," by Carole Kushnir
- Times of Israel, September 8, 2015, "Rosh Hashanah in Poland: Reflecting and Rejoicing," Tad TaubeTimes of Israel, July 3, 2015, "European Jews Redux," by Tad Taube
- San Francisco Chronicle, March 31, 2015, "Whether it is sports or philanthropy, teams allow us to do more," by Tad Taube
- Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2015, "Polish Jews Today, Four Generations and Counting," by Shana Penn
- JWeekly, January 29, 2015, "Auschwitz, 70 Years After," by Shana Penn
- Articles published about Consulates’ and Foundation’s Work in Poland in 2015:
- "SF Bay Area foundation to provide mezuzahs for Israeli army bases," JTA, December 6, 2015
- "The intrepid couple who restored a gem of a Polish synagogue," Times of Israel, September 30, 2015
- "Conversations on Jewish Identity: What We Might Learn from Poland," eJewish Philanthropy, August 16, 2015
- Bicyclists 'JCC Ride for the Living' from Auschwitz to Krakow, Newsweek, June 5, 2015
- A Tribute to Life: With major support from Tad Taube, the Polin Museum honors a millennium of Jewish history, Philanthropy Roundtable, Winter 2015
- POLIN: A Light Unto the Nations, Jewish Review of Books, Winter 2015
- Interviews and Op-Eds published in 2015:
Consular care extended to Polish citizens
- Polish Presidential Election and Runoff
- Hon. Consul Kerosky hosted the voting for the Presidential election in Northern California at his office on Market Street in San Francisco on May 9. He and his staff helped organize the registration and preparation for voting. He appointed an Electoral Commission, consisting of seven members, which operated under his supervision. Several members of Consul Kerosky’s staff worked on the election day to assist the Commission with an orderly conduct of the first round of the Presidential elections. Thousands of people from the community voted on that day during the hours of 7 am – 7 pm. Aleksandra Makuch assisted on behalf of Hon. Consul Taube.
- On May 23, the voting in the runoff round of the Presidential elections was conducted at Hon. Consul Kerosky’s office. The hours of voting were also 7 am to 7 pm. His staff assisted the appointed Electoral Commission with the conduct of this round of voting.
- Polish Parliamentary Election
- On October 24, Honorary Consul hosted the conduct of the Northern California voting for the Polish Parliamentary elections. The Electoral Commission, with several new members, was appointed and operated under Hon. Consul Kerosky’s supervision. Several of his staff assisted the Consuls again for this round.
- Visit of former Polish President Kwaśniewski
- Former Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski visited San Francisco in October. Hon. Consul Taube met him at the airport and hosted his first evening in the Bay Area. Hon. Consul Kerosky met with former Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski for several hours on October 8.
IV. Polish-American issues
- General characteristics of the Polish Diaspora in the consular region.
- Estimated number of Poles and people of Polish origin who reside in the consular region, including Jewish communities of Polish descent;
- Number of Poles and people of Polish origin in the San Francisco Bay Area: approximately 115,000
- Number of Jews of Polish descent in the San Francisco Bay Area: approximately 138,000
- Major Polish-American organizations and scope of cooperation of Honorary Consul with them.
- The following major Polish-American organizations work with the Consulates and have links on Consul Taube’s Honorary Consul website:
San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, Polonia San Francisco, Polonia in California, Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, Polish Club, Polish American Congress, Polish National Alliance #7, Łowiczanie Dance Ensemble, Polish American Social Club, East Bay Polish American Association, among others.
- The following major Polish-American organizations work with the Consulates and have links on Consul Taube’s Honorary Consul website:
- Honorary Consul’s cooperation with the Polish Diaspora in the consular region (please list and describe joint activities and mutual projects), including:
- Support extended to Polish-American organizations and communities, including those engaged in a Polish-Jewish dialogue;
- Many activities are incorporated into the programs of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, which enables Hon. Consuls Taube and Kerosky to create partnerships between non-Polonia civic and cultural organizations and Polonia organizations. Please see the Sister Cities website, sfkrakow.org. The Honorary Consulates also host academic and cultural leaders from Poland at Jewish and Polish institutions to foster Polish-Jewish dialogue, listed within this report.
- Support of education and youth projects, cultural initiatives and economic projects;
- Please see Section II
- Cooperation with the clergy;
- Consul Taube has a close relationship with the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich.
- Care extended to veterans and places of national remembrance;
- Consul Taube is the largest American sponsor of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Built on the historic site of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Museum faces the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes’ Monument. The Museum is in dialogue with the Monument, and together, the two complete the memorial complex. Consul Taube also supported the renovation of the Przysucha Synagogue, currently being restored. Consul Taube supported the renovation of Małej Synagogi in Wrocław.
- Structural organization of Honorary Consulate, number of employees and how many speak Polish
Honorary Consul Taube
- Consul Taube, competent in Polish.
- Mary Kay Stuvland, competent in Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
- Shana Penn, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
- Lina Broydo, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
- Vilja Fussell, no Polish language.
- Vera Hannush, beginning Polish.
Honorary Consul Kerosky
- Consul Kerosky, competent in Polish.
- Paweł Trela, fluent in Polish, represents Consul Kersoky in meetings.
- Magda Zimka, fluent in Polish, represents Consul Kersoky in meetings.
- Natalia Nowicka, fluent in Polish, represents Consul Kersoky in meetings.
- Consul Kerosky has 20 other staff with offices in San Jose, Sacramento, Walnut Creek, Napa, Santa Rosa, Ukiah and downtown San Francisco.
- Office hours and accessibility of Honorary Consul (e.g. regular office hours and/or on-call availability).
- Monday – Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Consulate’s amenities and work conditions, including the possibility of organizing professional consular office hours (including safe and fast Internet connection).
- Yes, the Consulates have these amenities and working conditions.
- Cooperation with Polish consular and diplomatic missions in the US.
- The Honorary Consuls cooperate and collaborate with the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Polish Consulates in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
VI. Proposals and motions
- Of priority is advocacy on behalf of the Visa Waiver Program, which will allow Polish citizens to be able to enter the United States without a visa, strengthen Polish American relations and honor the Polish support of the United States’ counterterrorist efforts and global role. We will continue to urge all Consulates to advocate on behalf of the Visa Waiver Program. The Honorary Consuls will advocate for the visa waiver both in the U.S. and in Poland.
- The Honorary Consuls will broaden and deepen their office’s community-wide outreach efforts, including expanded use of the media such as the local Polish radio program and Polish-language web pages now in development for Consular websites; dissemination of Poland-related information; servicing tourism needs of visitors to Poland; encouraging genealogical research; and arranging arts, business and technology connections between Poland and the Bay Area.
- Honorary Consuls Taube and Kerosky will strengthen and continue to promote the activities of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association.
- Honorary Consul Taube will continue his support of Polish institutions, including POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which celebrated its one year anniversary in October 2015.
- It remains a major objective of the Honorary Consulates to promote Poland’s leadership role in the European Union and to publicize “The New Poland.”
- Many of the various programs outlined in this report illuminate how The New Poland supports its Jewish cultural institutions and its diaspora. The diaspora’s vitality is enhanced by knowledge of its history and family roots and by intergenerational access to information and educational resources.
- Honorary Consuls Taube and Kerosky will continue to host diplomats and ordinary Polish citizens visiting the Bay Area.