This post first appeared on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.
To the dismay of guardians of Jewish heritage in Poland, a former Krakow beit midrash, or Jewish house of prayer and study, reopened as a disco this past weekend.
It was first reported in Gazeta Wyborcza, a local media outlet, that a new club called Mezcal would be opened in the Kazimierz district in a structure that was once the Chewra Thilim beit midrash. The article named the various DJ’s and bands that would perform, and described the light shows and parties that would take place in the space with valuable frescoes on its walls.
The building, designed by Nachman Kopald, was built at the corner of Meisels and Bozego Ciala streets in 1896. It was utilized as a dance studio after World War II, but was restituted to the Krakow Jewish community in 2001. The building had reportedly been vacant and unmaintained since 2006.
Members of the Managing Jewish Immovable Heritage conference visited the site last month after the president of Beit Krakow, the city’s small reform congregation, informed conference organizers that she had heard that the property would be turned into a restaurant. Her congregation had been hoping to use the space for its own needs.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.