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FestivALT – Crafting contemporary Jewish narratives in Poland 

In the winter of 2016, Michael Rubenfeld, Magdalena Koralewska, Maia Ipp and Jason Francisco co-founded FestivALT, an independent art collective based in Kraków, Poland. The purpose of FestivALT was to create a program of contemporary art and performance coinciding with the city’s annual Jewish Culture Festival. While the main festival celebrated Jewish culture, FestivALT aimed to explore Jewish history, memory, and identity in modern Poland. In contrast to the avoidance of difficult topics by the main festival, FestivALT embraced them and took a more experimental approach. 

A significant aspect of FestivALT’s mission is to provide a platform for under-represented voices and perspectives, including feminist, queer, multiracial, internationalist, dissident, and Jewish viewpoints.  

Michael Rubenfeld, FestivALT’s Co-Director, during a performance.

Nowadays, Michael Rubenfeld and Magdalena Koralewska are serving as Co-Directors of the organisation. Magdalena Rubenfeld is a project manager, social entrepreneur, and cultural activist, deeply involved in various Jewish startups. Her passion lies in driving social change at the intersection of learning and the arts. Magdalena focuses on Jewish memory, Polish-Jewish dialogue, informal Jewish education, and community engagement.  

Meanwhile, Michael Rubenfeld is an award-winning theatre artist and producer originally from Winnipeg (Canada). He has an extensive background in acting, playwriting, film, and television, performing across North America, Europe, and the United States. As Co-Director of FestivALT, he explores contemporary Polish Jewish narratives. 

FestivALT’s multidisciplinary approach contributes to a broader narrative about Jewish identity and history in Poland, making it an indispensable force in contemporary cultural dialogue. 

For more information please visit https://festivalt.com/en/  

A NOA profile on Jews creating a more inclusive Europe www.noa-project.eu