"A fresh and engaging look in words and photographs at one of the most fascinating social and religious phenomena in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe: the re-creation of a Jewish community in the synagogues and meeting halls and streets of the community that was once presumed extinct."—Helen Epstein, author of Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for her Mother's History
"Who Will Say Kaddish? is a gift to its readers. Gary Gelb's photos are penetrating, human, reaching to the very souls of the reassembling Polish Jewish Community. Larry Mayer's text . . . [is] a skillful portrayal of a people's journey back from decimation, and the author's journey of exploration as the son of Holocaust survivors."—Mark Kramer, Nieman Foundation at Harvard University
Who Will Say Kaddish? is an exploration of the fragile resurgence of Jewish life and identity in post-Communist Poland. By the eve of the Holocaust, Poland was home to the second largest Jewish population in the world. By war’s end, its Jews had been exterminated and their once-vibrant culture all but destroyed.
In this book Larry Mayer and Gary Gelb, themselves descendants of Polish Jews, explore reports that Jewish life is being rekindled in modern Poland. What they discover are three generations of Jews-Holocaust survivors and
their children and grandchildren-with differing historical perspectives. As survivors’ descendants learn of their hidden Jewish heritage through deathbed revelations, a compelling drama about personal identity unfolds. Mayer and Gelb chronicle a new chapter in the life of Poland’s Jewish community as the present generation seeks to celebrate its members’ recent freedom and to honor the rich traditions of their forebears.
Through interviews, photography, reportage, and personal memoir Who Will Say Kaddish? creates a sociocultural portrait of the multilayered community of renewed Jewish life and tradition in Poland that has emerged since the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.
Larry N. Mayer is a writer and teacher. His articles have appeared in Hadassah and the Boston Phoenix. The son of Polish Holocaust survivors, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Gary Gelb's photographs have appeared in Hadassah, Moment, Money, and Smart Money. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
8 x 10, 208 pages, 70 black and white illustrations