PAJA - YOUTH ACTION
PAJA, the Polish/American/Jewish
Alliance for Youth Action, was formed in America in
the year 2000 by a group of Polish & Americans troubled
by the continued existence of prejudice & intolerance
among ethnic groups & specifically their effects
on Polish/Jewish relations.
To work toward the conclusive
eradication of prejudice means providing the people
of the world the tools to get the job done. PAJA provides
Polish, American & Israeli students; Jewish &
Christian, opportunities to obtain these tools.
Organization is classified in
America as a charitable, 501(c)(3) tax exempt educational
instutution. Its leaders are exploring the possibilty
of establishing PAJA similarly in Poland. Commitment
to its program comes from grassroots support of people
living in the United States & Poland.
1. To promote the development
of a youth infrastructure in Poland & America that
creates opportunities for young people to conceive &
develop programs that bring about dialogue between themselves
& other young Christians and Jews.
2. To build youth leadership
by promoting the role young people need to play as emissaries
of understanding, learning & information that will
eliminate ignorance & myth in their communities,
their families, schools, churches & synagogues.
3. To promote the implementation
of educational curricula in American & Polish public
and parochial schools that teaches a comprehensive view
of the history of Polish-Jewish relations as well as
the effects of prejudice, anti-Semitism and anti-Polish
sentiment and that promotes the development of strategies
to overcome the persistence of prejudice in Jewish/Polish
relationships wherever it exists.
4. To create opportunities for
young people from Poland and America to meet & learn
directly from each other by sharing experiences &
PAJA's presence in Poland went
into full gear in April 2003 when its President moved
to Poland & committed to work for one year to establish
PAJA Poland. In the first three months, PAJA has established
a firm foothold, exemplified by the group of young students
that have become PAJA's Youth Board in Poland. This
Board has developed the following agenda:
1. Clearinghouse of Information
Development of a Clearinghouse of Information on the
internet & in magazine form that periodically updates
& keeps current information about the organizations,
activities, personal profiles, etc. related to the Polish/Jewish
Dialogue in Poland & elsewhere.
2. Meetings with Rabbis
Sponsorship of a series of student meetings at universities
throughout Poland with rabbis and other people informed
about Jewish culture and history in Poland.
3. Meetings with Groups Visiting
Facilitation of dialogue opportunities between Polish
students & Jewish groups that visit Poland.
4. Righteous Among the Nations
Recognition of the Polish Righteous Among Nations with
a series of student ceremonies & interaction opportunities
in major Polish cities.
5. Live Satellite/Internet Meetings
Creation of a series of live international satellite/internet
meetings between Jewish & Polish students in Poland,
America & Israel.
The primary goal of PAJA America
is to help Jews & Poles understand the need for
the Polish-Jewish dialogue. This effort began in 2002
with the inaugural session of PAJA's one-day workshop,
"Developing Connections" at the Polish Embassy
in Washington, DC. PAJA's efforts in America continue
with the projects listed below:
1. "Developing Connections"
The workshop "Developing Connections" is the
centerpiece of PAJA's American efforts. It continues
to be offered to Polish & Jewish youth.
2. PAJA on Campus
PAJA on Campus utilizes the network of college students
PAJA has worked with to arrange presentations on campus.
These events usually occur during lunchtime, however,
several larger gatherings are currently under consideration.
3. Live Satellite/Internet Meetings
This is the other American side of this effort to create
a series of live international satellite/internet meetings
between Jewish and Polish students in America, Europe
4. "Jewish Poland"
"Jewish Poland" is a book-length photo essay
in progress by the internationally known photographer
Carol Highsmith. PAJA is a partner with Ms. Highsmith
in this effort & PAJA volunteers will assist Ms.
Highsmith as she travels Poland.
5. Pulaski Day Parade
Through the efforts of a Polish-American whose daughter
is a graduate of PAJA's "Developing Connections"
Workshop, plans are underway for a PAJA float in this
American celebration of Polish culture.