Europe celebrates Jewish culture

PARIS (EJP)— On 3 September, Europe will celebrate Jewish culture during the sixth European Day of Jewish Culture.

This year, about 30 countries will participate in the event to promote Jewish history and heritage.

Tours, open houses, exhibitions, lectures and concerts will allow Jews and non-Jews to learn about Jewish history and heritage. They will also be able to enjoy klezmer music, contemporary art and theatre and to visit synagogues, cemeteries, ritual baths and ancient Jewish quarters.

This year’s theme is “European Routes of Jewish Heritage”. The aim is to show Jewish heritage through travel: either physical routes (itineraries, circuits around sites which are linked by a common theme, or historical routes (the life of a man, the origins of a community) or artistic routes (Jewish cultural movement).

By choosing this theme, organisers want to combine two projects: the European Day of Jewish Culture and the European Route of Jewish Heritage, which were until now two separate events.

Last year the “European Route of Jewish Heritage” was recognised officially as a “Cultural Itinerary of the Council of Europe”. Last autumn, the first plaque put up on a Lithuanian wooden synagogue was inaugurated highlighting the “European Route of Jewish Heritage”.

More than 120,000 visitors in 2005
Co-organised by B’nai B’rith Europe, the European Council of Jewish Communities and Red de Juderñ?as de España, this European event will allow 10,000 volunteers from Jewish associations, tourist bureaus, museums and students to meet people and introduce them to Jewish heritage.

Last year, the European Day of Jewish Culture featured more than 800 activities and took place in 260 cities across 26 countries.

The event attracted more than 120,000 visitors.

In Paris there will be an organised walking tour of the larger synagogues and people will have a chance to visit the Portuguese cemetery, the city’s first Jewish cemetery that was created in the 18th century.

In Sweden, the Jewish community of Gothenburg will organise a guided tour through the old Jewish cemetery at “Svingeln” and another tour in the synagogue with a lecture on Jewish music.

In Ukraine in the Lvov region, there will be a longer itinerary along the various Jewish heritage highlights of the area: from Lvov, Nikolayev (ancient Jewish cemetery, the ancient Jewish cemetery to the village of Stry with its synagogue to Scole with its cemetery.

There will also be an exhibition of books, “The European Routes of Jewish Heritage in the Lvov Region”, to document the tour.

To find out more about the European Day of Jewish Culture, and see the entire programme, go to: www.jewisheritage.org

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