Jewish Heritage Initiative in Poland

A Peoplehood Program established by the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture

In 2003, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture(TFJLC) established the Jewish Heritage Initiative in Poland (JHIP) to strengthen the institutional life of Polish Jews; further awareness and appreciation of Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life among Jews and others; and foster positive interest in Poland among American Jews, 85 percent of whom have Polish roots. The JHIP supports the development of a broad-based infrastructure of Jewish educational, communal, religious, and cultural programs in Poland. The JHIP also links Polish Jews and Jewish programs with Jewish communities in North and South America, Europe, Israel, Australia, and the fifteen independent states formerly a part of the Soviet Union.

The JHIP emphasizes the critical importance of understanding and integrating the history of Polish Jewry into a post-Communist and multicultural society; of addressing historical and contemporary anti-Semitism; and of strengthening the democratic values of a multiethnic Polish civil society. The Taube Foundation has strengthened the visibility, reach, and effectiveness of JHIP by enlisting philanthropic partners to co-sponsor JHIP programs that extend over multiple years. Committed to the development of a cadre of leaders equipped to carry forward a future of Polish Jewry that reflects the diverse and inclusive values of Jewish Peoplehood, the JHIP participates in collaborative activities with new and established Jewish institutions and programs, such as JCCs, Hillels, museums, synagogues, festivals, and interfaith/multicultural events. It extends support for programs that are religious and scholarly and populist and popular across Poland, and in Jewish communities in Europe, the Americas, and Israel that have links with Poland.

Since 2003, the JHIP has disbursed more than 450 grants totaling over $30 million to more than 100 cultural and communal programs and organizations, including POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Taube Jewish Heritage Tours, the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków, the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, the Galicia Jewish Museum, the Global Education Outreach Program, Jewish community centers in Kraków and Warsaw, the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center, and the Office of the Chief Rabbi of Poland. It provides core support to key institutions and funds programs in Jewish studies scholarship, museum exhibitions, archival preservation, genealogy, community and capacity building, and heritage study tours for youth and adults. It supports the arts and media through grants for specific artistic creations and through ongoing funding to selected organizations and increasingly has devoted resources to strengthening global connections.