Barcelona Congregation Celebrates 15 Years
Communitat Jueva ATID de Catalunya, the Progressive congregation in Barcelona, recently marked 15 years since its establishment, as well as the establishment of Progressive Judaism in Spain.
The commemoration took place on June 22 with musical performances by members of the congregation, as well as a special video documenting its history. There was also a salute to ATID’s past leaders, and recognition of Luis and Carmen Bassat, who have been behind much of the congregation’s development. “When I see this hall full of people, I know that ATID means ‘future’ more than ever,” said Luis Bassat in acknowledging the honor.
Dominique Tomasov Blinder and David Stoleru, two members of ATID who are architects, have been working since 2006 to encourage all Jewish congregations in the city to take an active role in preserving their Jewish heritage as a way of fostering their sense of Jewish identity and contributing to the cultural diversity in the city. This initiative formalized in what is called the Center for Studies ZAKHOR, which facilitates research, special activities and lines of communication that will reinstate Jewish culture to its rightful place in Spain following an absence of centuries.
“When I became a member of ATID,” Tomasov Blinder says, “I thought that anything ‘Jewish’ had to emerge through the congregation, because [the city’s] Jewish population is so small that creating separate institutions would be unrealistic. Some years later, I now see congregations as a source of inspiration for members to get involved in Jewish projects through their own work.”
Tomasov and Stoleru cite numerous fields as possibilities – including research, arts and culture – to create Jewish content for heritage projects throughout the country, guided visits and similar activities. One current matter of urgency is the preservation of ancient Jewish cemeteries, as urban growth has put them all at risk.
After renovating a storefront, they have moved ZAKHOR headquarters to the heart of the old Jewish quarter, and their website www.zakhor.net, will be completed in English by the end of the month. In coming issues we will keep you informed of the progress of their work.
(Tags: Barcelona, Jewish, Community)