Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director, JCC Krakow, Poland


Since its opening in April 2008 by the Prince of Wales, Jonathan has served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, an organization devoted to rebuilding Jewish life in Krakow. The JCC boasts over 600 Jewish members, welcomes 8,000 visitors a month, and has become one of Poland’s most visible signs of Jewish revival.
Prior to the JCC’s opening in 2008, Jonathan lectured in Modern Hebrew at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University Department of Jewish Studies for 6 years and founded the “Gesher” association for Polish-Israeli dialogue. A native of New York City, Jonathan moved to Israel in 1994, living for seven years on a kibbutz in the Negev desert and serving for two years in a combat unit in the I.D.F. before making his way to Poland in 2001.
He is a founding member of “Przymierze,” the Krakow Association of Christians and Jews where he serves as vice president. He also serves on the boards of the Krakow branch of the Child Survivors of the Holocaust organization and JCC Global.
In 2014, Jonathan was awarded the Cohon Award for services benefitting the Jewish People and in 2015 he was awarded the “Bene Merito” medal by the Polish Foreign Ministry for his work promoting Poland.