A Safe Haven

This year’s festival theme has a dual meaning: First, the geographical focus is literally on the port cities that have hosted (and/or hosted) thriving Jewish communities for hundreds of years. Places like Venice, Izmir, São Paolo, Hamburg, Riga or Odessa, where unique and diverse cultures have developed – the result of a fusion of Jewish and local influences, combined with the cosmopolitan currents that can be found in each port.

People between hope and fear of the future

On the other hand, we are building on the universal concept of the “safe haven”. A place where migrants, refugees and other vulnerable people can find a home and acceptance. We are very pleased that in March 2022, after a long discussion, the majority of the Dresden City Council has committed itself to the Potsdam Declaration “Cities of Safe Harbors”. As 298. City in Germany, the citizens are thus backing the civilian sea rescue organisations and are prepared to take in more refugees than the Königsteiner Key stipulates and to actively develop prospects for staying.

Never forget! As a Jewish festival, we bear responsibility

Festival director Avery Gosfield explains: “The current war in Ukraine clearly shows us how important it is to stand by people in need and to become active. As a Jewish festival, we have for years seen ourselves as having a solidary responsibility to make minorities visible in a majority society. To make their worries, their hopes, their zest for life but also their burdened biographies public. For the history of historical Judaism hardly differs from that of millions of persecuted and oppressed people around the world today. Emphasizing these parallels – whether in Syria, North Africa, Ukraine, or as part of a global crisis in the future – is an essential part of the promise ,’Never Forget!’.”

On board: Mission Lifeline and Yuriy Gurzhy

As patron we were able to win the aid project “Mission Lifeline” this year. For seven years now, the non-profit association from Dresden has been committed to the protection of human rights. In addition to practical emergency aid in the central Mediterranean or in direct refugee aid, her focus is on observation, reporting, awareness-raising, education and, of course, human rights and political work.

Our Artist in Residence 2022 is Yuriy Gurzhy, popular musician, singer, songwriter, workshop leader, blogger, author, activist and DJ, born in Charkhiv but based in Berlin for many years. He will present his work on different days and will be in close contact with the festival.

Highlights this year

Highlights of the festival include a fusion concert dedicated to the city of Riga with Sasha Lurje, Craig Judelman and an up-and-coming Latvian folk band, an evening of Hamburg port and sailor songs featuring Daniel Kahn and Stella Jürgensen, the play “Tevye Served Raw”, performed in Yiddish with German surtitles or the fantastic women’s singing trio “Gurgulitza”.


We look forward to seeing you all again!
Welcome to the 26th Jewish Week Dresden.

Avery Gosfield and the whole festival team