Believe in the Museum?

Starting in October we invite you to take part in a cycle of monthly seminars – “Believe in the Museum?”

Conversations about matters of importance on earth as in heaven:

  • Believe – where? At the Museum, for it is precisely at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews that we will try to find out whether elementary religious texts can offer a solution to the burning problems of today.
  • Believe – in what? In the Museum, which will thereby become not just a place for recounting of the past, but one of reflection, on ourselves and on the crises of our time.
  • Believe? Our aim is not to impose beliefs, but to practice a calm exchange of thoughts and arguments, to reflect deeply, also on where our beliefs come from.

Not everybody wants to believe. But it is worth finding out what others believe in.

The purpose of our meetings within the framework of the Believe in the Museum? cycle is to talk about matters that are important and worthy of serious thought based on fragments of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible that form the basis of Judaism as well as Christianity. Biblical readings will be treated as a point of departure, an inspiration, not necessarily a literal one. We will approach them with respect and the conviction that they contain an important message, also for us.

We will reflect on how and where to look for answers to pressing questions. Are religious traditions capable of establishing a dialogue with today’s world, with today’s pace of development, the rapid changes taking place, the sudden re-evaluation of so many fundamental issues?

Are there any points of correspondence between the texts we are going to discuss and our present reality? Have they stood the test of time? Can they help us to explain, to comprehend today’s complicated world?

We will talk about the present, about problems faced by each of us.

The monthly meetings will combine into a seminar involving both academic knowledge and life experience, hosted by Halina Bortnowska and Stanisław Krajewski. Each meeting will also bring in an invited guest, an expert on the topic discussed.

Halina Bortnowska is a columnist, philosopher and theologian, the former editor of “Znak” magazine. She has been commenting on current social phenomena for many years from an ethical and Christian perspective. She is the author of “Już / jeszcze nie” (Already / Not Yet), “Co to, to nie” (Definitely Not) and “Wszystko będzie inaczej” (Everything will be Different, co-written with Jolanta Steciuk).

Stanisław Krajewski is a professor of philosophy, co-president of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews on the Jewish side, the author (amongst other publications) of “54 komentarze do Tory dla nawet najmniej religijnych spośród nas” (54 Commentaries to the Torah for Even the Least Religious among Us).


  • October 14, 2013, Rev. Prof. Michał Heller, Was the world created?, Genesis 1:1-2:7
  • November 18, 2013, Dr. Krystyna Starczewska, Do we mature and when?, Genesis 32:1-33:15
  • December 16, 2013, Prof. Krzysztof Meissner, Are miracles and omens possible?, Exodus 3:1-4:31
  • January 20, 2014, Aleksander Smolar, Do some have to be privileged in society?, Exodus 22:21-23:9

The seminars are open to all. We are counting on the active participation of the audience.

Regular attendees will form the core of the seminar. They may obtain a special certificate of participation by writing a short essay on an agreed topic. Those interested in obtaining a certificate should write to: [email protected] by September 30.