The Lucky Jewathon was a 3-day / 72-hour interactive durational, online performance taking place November 26-29, 2021.
The performance was inspired by FestivALT’s live Lucky Jew performance that responds to figurines and small paintings of Jews with gold coins that are customarily sold in Poland as good luck charms. While some people see them as remembrances of Poland’s pre-war Jewish communities, for many they are simply anti-Semitic caricatures. Lucky Jew is a performance that engages with the cultural complications of these objects by bringing a Lucky Jew to life in the public spaces of the city.
Inspired by telethon events where the goal is to raise money for a cause, the goal of the Lucky Jewathon was to raise awareness about a problematic practice that has become normalized in Poland.
For 73 hours, on November 26-29, without break, 18 moderators collaborated on what was one of FestivALT’s most ambitious projects to date. The event was broken into eighteen 4-hour segments, and each moderator chose their own direction for their 4 hour segment. Below is a list of all moderators and a short description of their segment.
1. Michael Rubenfeld (Poland / Canada) introduced the participants to the topic and talked about the performance “The Lucky Jew” and held a vigorous debate about the practice with several guests.
2. Josh “SoCalled” Dolgin (Canada) played a DJ set of Jewish traditional and contemporary music as an antidote to kitsch and stereotypical presentation of Jewish culture and music.
3. Zacharias Szumer (Australia) spoke about social problems resulting from social inequalities (the role of money)
4. Jakub Nowakowski (Poland) talked about the changes in Krakow’s district of Kazimierz and the local approach to Jewish culture in recent years
5. Betty Q (Poland) spoke about the problem of representation and the fight against stereotypes through their embodiment and the use of subversive performing arts
6. Jason Francisco (America) prepared a mini-film festival of his original durational films that focussed on sites of former atrocities, holding a single frame for 18 minutes in each site.
7. Wojtek Ziemilski (Poland) investigated the genesis of the stereotype of a Jew with a coin in Polish culture using surveys as a tool to build data from the audience.
8. Anand Rajaram (Canada) presented an original augmented reality performance inspired by the phenomenon of a Jew with a money.
9. Natalia Chmielarz / Michalina Jadczak (Poland) ran a music and culinary segment presenting the diversity of Jewish culture
10. The Freedom Theater (Palestine) talked about the stereotyping of the Palestinian minority and presented their creative achievements
11. Konrad Stanowicz / Robert Piaskowski (Poland) held discussions with the invited guests on the phenomenon of the Jew with the money and the role of the city in the future of the objects
12. Adam Schorin (America / Poland) offered his perspective about the impressions caused by the phenomenon of the objects from a foreigners lens and about his own conversations with the inhabitants of Krakow during his performances of the “Lucky Jew” project live.
13. Atalya Laufer (Israel / Germany) together with the invited artists, presented her reactions to the phenomenon of the Jew with money in the form of commissioned musical works from primarily German music artists. We are currently considering the release of the album “The Lucky Jew Album”
14. Tobaron Waxman (Canada) together with the invited guests spoke about the issues of representation of minority cultures in contemporary Poland.
15. Rebecca Forgasz (Australia) together with invited guests, talked about the use of humor and satire in the fight against anti-Semitism as well as a lecture on Jewish histories in Poland.
16. Roma Sendyka (Poland) together with the Curatorial Collective developed an original program presenting the history of Jewish perceptions in Polish culture and experimental public opinion polls in the context of the phenomenon of the “Lucky Jew”
17. Rachel Mars (United Kingdom) looked at Jewish stereotypes and and antisemitism in the context of the UK.
18. Erica Lehrer (Canada / Poland) dealt with the representation and stereotyping of various minorities in Poland and other countries. The discussion was so interesting that it lasted an additional hour.
Josh Dolgin (Dj SoCalled)
Natalia Chmielarz/Michalina Jadczak
The Freedom Theatre
Rebecca Forgasz /
Roma Sendyka & Kolektyw Kuratorski
In cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung.
This project was co-financed by the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund.
A public project co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland through the competition “Public Diplomacy 2020—A New Dimension.” The performance reflects only the views of its creators and holds no bearing on the official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This project is co-financed by the public funds of the City of Krakow.
The event is a part of Festiwal Wielokulturowy - Nowi Krakowianie
In partnership with:
Festival of Jewish Arts and Music
ASPJ - Australian Society of Polish Jews and Their Descendants
Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza