# 109 / Editorial

How should we understand this often talked about “Jewish revival” in Poland? What does it mean for a country that had more than three million Jews before the war and where only a few thousand live today? Sociologist Geneviève Zubrzycki shows that the memory of the Holocaust in Poland has given rise to a wide variety of practices, ranging from unscrupulous exploitation of the Jewish past and the Holocaust by tourists, to a sincere commitment to Jewish history and culture. But it is important to contextualize this “Jewish revival” within the political environment in which it is taking place. It is being mobilized by the progressive camp to break the hegemony of a national right that defines the Polish nation in ethnic terms and is closely associated with the Catholic Church. Thus, this “revival” is a weapon for the opposition to illiberal nationalism.  To explore this topic further, Ewa Tartakowsky interviews Geneviève Zubrzycki, who recently published Resurrecting the Jew: Nationalism, Philosemitism, and Poland’s Jewish Revival (Princeton University Press, 2022).

Still in the East of Europe, but much further South, in Greece. We publish a tribute to Moses Elisaf, the mayor of the northwestern city of Ioannina, the capital of Romaniot Judaism, which is perhaps one of the oldest Jewish communities in the Diaspora, dating back to Alexander the Great. The Romaniotes are Greek-speaking Jews, whose existence as a group precedes the names Ashkenazi or Sephardic. Léon Saltiel met Moses Elisaf a few weeks before his death, and began a dialogue with this political figure, who was unanimously respected in his country, on the history and current situation of the Jews of Greece.

In Poland, the traditional conception of the nation is based on the idea that Polishness is inherently linked to Catholicism. In her latest book, sociologist Geneviève Zubrzycki examines the outlines of what is regularly called a “Jewish revival” in Poland. She explains how the philosemitism of progressive Poles is a manifestation of their attempts to break down the equation between Polishness and Catholicism in order to define a more inclusive and pluralist conception of national identity.

On Friday 17 February, 2023, a few hours before the start of Shabbat, the Greek Jewish world was shocked to learn of the death of Moses Elisaf, the Mayor of the city of Ioannina and President of its historic Jewish community. In Greece, from the Head of State to members of the government, parliamentarians, foreign ambassadors and the general public, they all expressed their grief at the news and large crowds attended the funeral. Everyone expressed their admiration for the man’s achievements. Leon Saltiel, who interviewed him for K. a few months before his death, talks about the career and role played by this key figure of Greek Jewish identity and the void he leaves behind.

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