Philosophy, mathematics, democracy, the Olympics, architecture, libraries, trial by jury, mythology, and the alphabet are just some of the contributions made by ancient Greeks to the world of today. Is it any wonder that so many were, and still are, attracted to Greek culture? Should we be surprised that the greatest of Jewish philosophers (and many other disciplines), the Rambam, felt the imperative to reconcile Jewish philosophy with its Greek antecedents?
The Ramah, Rav Moshe Isserles, is probably the most famous and important figure to have lived in Krakow. Born in 1530 to a wealthy family, the name Isserles is a reference to his father, Isser or Yisrael.
Shabbat in Krakow. A city of glory, like almost no other in Jewish history. The Jewish quarter dates from the 16th century and is actually known as Kazimierz. Today, it is part of Krakow, but originally was an island just next to Krakow where Jews were welcomed after being expelled from Krakow in 1495.
For Jews, Poland was as close to Gan Eden in exile as one could get. It was referred to by Jews as Po lin, "here we rest" in tranquility waiting for the arrival of Mashiach. It was also known as Po lan yah, "here G-d rests", as He accompanied His people to this wonderful galut. Tragically, all this changed overnight.