In Polish city, a wedding celebrates Jewish rediscovery and revival
WROCLAW, Poland (JTA) — When Katka Reszke and Slawomir Grunberg tied the knot at the historic White Stork synagogue in this southwestern Polish city, they were determined that the occasion would be more than just a wedding.
They wanted it to be a symbol of how thousands of Polish Jews — like themselves — have found their way back to Judaism and Jewish identity.
The couple, who are based in New York but spend part of each year in their native Poland, also wanted the ceremony — the first religious Jewish wedding in Wroclaw in 14 years — to be a learning experience for both local Jews and non-Jews.
To this end, they opened Sunday’s ceremony to everyone in the city and turned their nuptials into an hours-long, open-air public event with klezmer bands, kosher food, two officiating Orthodox rabbis and loudspeaker explanations of each step in the traditional wedding ritual.
“Jewish community members told us that they had never been to a Jewish wedding, so we made it into a sort of festival,” said Reszke, 35, an outgoing woman with spiky reddish hair who was born and grew up in Wroclaw. “By explaining the wedding to everyone, we’re trying to break down the mystery that separates people.”
The couple’s personal histories drove their desire to make a statement and vividly reflect the complex dilemmas of post-Holocaust and post-communist Jewish experience in Poland.