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This restaurant is situated at the back of the Beit Midrasz by the Great Synagogue. It specialises in Jewish (kosher) and regional dishes but you can get some typical Polish dishes as well. It's a nice place with Jewish music, which I love, playing softly in the background. Some of the decorations must be Jewish too, like the old embroidered tapestries on the walls.
All the food seems to be freshly made. We have been there twice and the service was always prompt and the waitresses very polite. They didn't even charge us for the hot water with a slice of lemon that I drink instead of tea.
Favorite Dish: We obviously wanted to have a taste of Jewish cuisine so the first time we both had kugel, i.e. potato cake. The second time we were hungry after the long drive from Warsaw so my husband had tripe cooked the Jewish way and Jewish bigos (cooked cabbage with plums and other ingredients, but no meat, which you always have in its Polish version) with fried potato slices, which he said were excellent. I had kreplech - Jewish dumplings with meat filling, very delicate and tasty. We would have had something for dessert but a large group of elderly citizens burst in, all very hungry, so we left to find good seats for the Hanukkah celebrations. After all, it would have been hard to take pictures from the last row.
Updated Dec 10, 2007
Most of you probably know this but as I saw a few men in the Synagogue with their heads bare, it might be worth mentioning. To show respect, men (but not women) should wear some kind of headgear in a synagogue. Quite the opposite to the Catholic churches, where they are supposed to take their hats off on entering a church.
You should also remember that the Aron Ha Kodesh is a kind of altar and that is why it should be treated with due respect. I saw two visitors trying to look behind the parokhet until a woman from the staff restrained them.
Written Dec 17, 2007
Favorite thing: The terrible events of 5-6 August 1941 left a deep scar on the town and its inhabitants. We cannot bring the Tykocin Jews back to life. What we can do though is not to let them fade from our memory, but keep them in our hearts forever. So when we come to Tykocin, let's visit the mass graves in the Lopuchowo forest and leave a pebble on them, as Jewish people do, to show that we remember.
But the now retired director of the Museum at the Synagogue, Ewa Wroczynska and the cast of the Amateur Theatre of Tykocin do more than that. She writes scripts based on diaries, court documents and the like, bringing to life characters from the town's past. The whole town joins in the performances, the oldest actor is 81, the youngest just 10.
Special focus is given to Jewish festivals. In the autumn, for instance, the town celebrates Sukkot to commemorate the escape of the Jews from Egypt. A thatched hut is then built in front of the synagogue and, after prayers, everybody partakes of Jewish plaited white bread, honey and raisins.
At Chanukkah, which is celebrated around Christmas time, the synagogue fills with the local people and visitors who want to hear about the Chanukkah traditions, listen to the diaries of Tykocin Jews being read, see their photographs on the screen and watch the Chanukkah candles being lit. Afterwards, everybody is treated to latkes, traditional potato cakes fried in olive.
At Purim, another Jewish festival, commemorating the salvation of the Jewish nation from the cruelty of Haman, when his name is pronounced during the prayers, everybody stamps their feet, claps and shakes the rattles to drown out his name. After the prayers, a Jewish carnival starts with people walking the streets dressed up, singing and dancing.
In December last year we went to Tykocin to attend the celebrations of Chanukkah. For more pictures of the celebrations see the travelogue.
Updated Mar 13, 2008