Three girls, two are Polish, one is a Jew... sounds a little like a beginning of a joke, but that is actually how ROOTKA’s story begins.
Different life stories and circumstances led to our meeting – Agata, Joanna and Tal – all of them connected to Poland, to its Jewish past and to our great interest in it. But that by itself was not enough. For if not to our mutual love and admiration to Lublin, the magical city of Ha-Chozeh, of Meir Shapira and "Yeshivat Hachmei Lublin" ("the Wise Man of Lublin School"), the city that merges in its back streets the eastern European quiet life, while at the same time it is a modern urban and multi-cultural metropolis, we would not have met.
Some might say that you should not be mixing business with friends, but we believe that this is what makes this company truly unique. Our bond, which formed out of these passions, had paved the way for the creation of our company. So after years of us working separately in the field of guiding, tourism and Jewish history and culture education, forming ROOTKA was the next natural step.
Agata, an enthusiast of everything that is Eastern European, worked as a travel agent, a guide in Majdanek and Bełżec and a tour guide of dozens of groups from all over Europe, visiting west Ukraine and east Poland in the context of Jewish history, and local history as well. She has a know-how approach when it comes to tourism, and she enjoys organizing challenging tours and atypical events. If she isn't in Lublin, than she is most probably in Lviv.
Joanna – or Asia, as we call her – is a well of knowledge and insights in a human form. Her passion to learning and teaching about the history of this area had led her through her life, from guiding in Majdanek, through many projects regarding Jewish culture education and to her years of leading groups through the invisible streets of the nonexistent Jewish city of Lublin.
Tal started as a tour guide in Jerusalem, than she shifted from guiding to photography, and through her studies found herself in Poland. She fell in love with the place, people and history, and her curiosity to the story of her people, which is also her personal family's story, compelled her to stay. She is a combination an educator and photographer, creating the scene and capturing it from behind her lens at the same time. We also believe that she makes the best Hummus in Lublin.
By now you are probably asking yourself "why would three young women want to open a tour company of their own?" Well first of all, because we can! But besides that, we truly believe that there is no better way to tell this story than teaching it "through the legs". Only by being directly in touch with the present of this land, can you open the hard questions about its past, and accept it with its beauty and pain.
Keep following us. We will try to post regularly on this blog to keep you informed about what’s new with us, with ROOTKA.
Agata, Asia and Tal