US edition of Singer's Warsaw Festival opens in New York City

The world-famous cantor Yaakov Lemmer opened the American edition of the event. Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture, a celebrated arts festival, opened in New York City on Sunday. It will run through November 19, 2019.

The American edition of the event opened at the Lincoln Square Synagogue with a concert by world-famous cantor Yaakov Lemmer and Grammy Award winner Frank London, featuring the work of Gershon Sirota and Mordechai Gebirtig.

"Together, we prepared a repertoire based on the works of Gershon Sirota, a cantor who died during fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as well as Mordechai Gebirtig, one of the most famous poets and composers creating in Yiddish, who died in 1942 on the so-called Bloody Thursday in the Kraków (southern Poland - PAP) Ghetto,” said Dawid Szurmiej, one of the festival's organisers.

Also performing on the first day of the festival was the Jewish Theatre from Warsaw, which presented, in Yiddish, the musical comedy "Humesh Lider," where Biblical heroes are depicted as contemporary Jews from a small town during the interwar period.

The festival will also feature the work of its namesake, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Children and adults are invited to attend Singer Storytime at several New York Public Library branches.

It will conclude with a performance of "The Wall," a monodrama performed by the Jewish Theater of Warsaw, inspired by the story of Irena Sendler who, during World War Two, saved the lives of thousands of children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, and was later recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Israel's Yad Vashem institute.

The closing ceremonies of the festival will be held on November 19 at the Polish Consulate General in New York.

The organiser of Singer's Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture is the Shalom Foundation. The event is presented through cooperation with, among other institutions, the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.