:: The Polish Rescuers
The Interfaith Coalition to Honor Polish Rescuers
is a group of religious and secular organizations and individuals
gathered to recognize the Polish rescuers--the largest group of
Righteous honored by Yad Vashem.
The Avenue of the Righteous, an interfaith organization
of Chicago's North Shore that honors and remembers the Righteous,
initiated a year-long project to celebrate the Polish Righteous'
good deeds. After inviting other groups to join the project--and
receiving a tremendous response--the Avenue organized the Interfaith
Coalition to Honor Polish Rescuers.
Through awareness of these heroic individuals, we
aim to encourage brave and virtuous behavior by all people in their
daily lives. By remembering ordinary people who did extraordinary
things, we highlight the value of moral courage, and treating those
who are different with care and respect.
Sponsored by the Interfaith Coalition to Honor Polish
Rescuers, the Polish Rescuers Project is a year-long series of activities
to enhance community awareness of these individuals and their noble
deeds. Programs are planned to promote education, culture, dialogue
and the support of those aging rescuers in need.
Our Partner Organizations
Jewish Committee (AJC) is a national organization that aims
- to safeguard the welfare and security of Jews throughout the
- to strengthen the basic principles of pluralism around the world,
as the best defense against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry
- to enhance the quality of American Jewish life by helping to
ensure Jewish continuity and deepen ties between American and
The Association of Descendents of the Shoah-Illinois is dedicated
to remembering those who perished in the Shoah (Holocaust). To carry
on the spirit of the survivors' mission ("to ensure that their
legacy will be carried on through future generations"), the
Association provides a variety of programming for descendants and
the community at large.
Avenue of the Righteous
The Chicago Friends
of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous promotes local awareness
and support for the New York-based Jewish Foundation for the Righteous
(JFR). Rabbi Harold Schulweis created the JFR in 1986 to fulfill
the traditional Jewish commitment to hakarat hatov, the searching
out and recognition of goodness. it is the only organization that
provides direct financial assistance to those aging Righteous who
are in need. Currently the Foundation cares for 1,700 surviving
Righteous in 30 countries. Close to 1,000 of these people are in
Poland. Through its educational programs, the Foundation also educates
future generations about the rescuers' extraordinary acts and the
importance of moral courage.
The Jewish Community
Relations Council (JCRC) is the umbrella body for 40 major Jewish
organizations in the Chicago area, and it is the community relations
arm of the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan
Chicago. The JCRC serves as the instrument through which diverse
Jewish organizations collectively make policy on behalf of its constituent
members. It also mobilizes the community for action by interacting
with government officials, the media, and other ethnic and religious
Cardinal Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry at Catholic
Theological Union prepares future church leaders through academic
training and scholarships, and sponsors theological research, public
discussion, and topical conferences. The Center is committed to
fostering the understanding and study of issues closely associated
with the late Cardinal Bernardin, including Catholic-jewish dialogue
Ensemble is a professional performing arts company that specializes
in Polish music, song, and dance. The Lira Ensemble includes five
performing groups that present the music of Poland, sung in the
Polish language, and Polish folk and court dances. The company's
repertoire includes popular and folk songs and dances, as well as
classical selections. The mission of the Lira Ensemble is to help
acquaint Polish Americans with the richness of their thousand-year-old
heritage of music and dance, and to help other Americans learn about
and appreciate Polish culture and traditions.
is a private, not-for-profit university that educates a broad range
of students, including those who historically have had limited access
to higher education. The mission of National-Louis University is
to develop highly competent and humane individuals for service and
leadership through quality academic programs. The education provided
by National-Louis University enables the learner to fulfill personal
and professional goals as a citizen of a diverse society and a global
For more than 75 years, the Polish
American Association has helped several generations of individuals
who have left their homeland to begin new lives in America. Founded
in 1922 as the Polish Welfare Association, it is the nation's only
human services organization that provides comprehensive bilingual
and bicultural services to the Polish community. Each month over
3,000 people are served through education, employment, immigration,
outreach and an array of social services. These services target
the poor, seniors, youth, the homeless, and victims of domestic
violence. Specific programs include substance abuse treatment, parenting
classes and homemaker services to the elderly and disabled.
American Leadership Initiative (PALI) was recently formed in
order to enhance the participation of the Polish American community
in the affairs of the greater community to maximize its representation
and influence at every level. PALI will be a resource to existing
organizations and a catalyst for the empowerment of the Polish American
community through initiatives promoting leadership, representation,
community service and cultural heritage.
American Priests Association is a national organization that
brings together priests of Polish American heritage working with
and for Polonia in the United States. The organization creates a
forum for priests to share ideas, to support each other, and to
develop a pastoral plan for ministry to Polonia. The Chicago chapter
was founded in 1990.
The School Sisters
of Notre Dame (SSND) is an international congregation of Roman
Catholic women religious ministers headquartered in Rome, Italy.
Represented in 31 countries around the globe, the SSND is one of
the largest mission-sending congregations with about 5,000 members.
In response to contemporary society's varied needs, the SSND responds
as educators, and it views education as a means of transforming
the world into a more just place.
||Consulate General of
||Consulate General of Poland
||Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
||Rabbi Samuel Gordon
||Ambassador John Kordek
||Rabbi Harold Kudan
||Rev. John Pawlikowski, O.S.M.
||Rev. Francis Rog, C.R.
||Rabbi Herman Schaalman
||Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
||Alderman Michael Wojcik
The Coalition welcomes your contributions to help
fund these ongoing activities, as well as continuing to provide
direct financial help to those aging Polish Rescuers who are in
financial need. Checks should be made payable to "Avenue of
the Righteous-PRP" and mailed to 840 Vernon Avenue, Glencoe,
Modern Day Tale of Respect
The space at 840 Vernon Avenue
is a particularly fitting location for a benefit to
honor and support the Righteous, most of whom were Christians.
The temple at 840 Vernon Avenue
was built in 1928 to serve North Shore Congregation
When the congregation outgrew
its space in 1972, they moved elsewhere and sold the
building to The Willows, a Catholic girls' school. At
the same time, Rabbi Harold Kudan began a new congregation
in Glencoe called Am Shalom. It met at various community
locations, including North Shore Methodist Church, the
Winnetka Congregational Church, and the Glencoe Union
During a chance conversation
in 1982, an Am Shalom board member, who was friends
with a Willows board member, discovered that the school
was moving to Park Ridge. Looking for a facility of
its own, Am Shalom struck a deal to buy the Vernon Avenue
Upon their return, temple members
discovered that the Catholic girls' school had left
the sanctuary completely untouched. Because they saw
it was a sacred place of Jewish worship, they felt that
to alter it in any way would be insensitive.
Instead, they used a small auditorium
lounge as their worship space for the entire 10 years
they occupied the building. In the sanctuary, a Union
Prayer Book was still on top of the organ, and a 7-branch
candelabra remained on the alter (bimah)-all unmoved
from when North Shore Congregation Israel had left 10
How appropriate that as we
gathered to support the Righteous Christians who saved
Jews during the Holocaust, we do so in place where another
group of Christians, during another time in history,
put their own needs aside in order to help preserve
and respect Judaism's past, present, and future.