Thursday, July 3, 2008

Europe: September 7th set for European Day of Jewish Culture

Visitors to Jewish sites in Florence, Italy on European Day of Jewish Culture, 2003
photos: Samuel D. Gruber

: September 7th set for European Day of Jewish Culture

(ISJM) This year’s European Day of Jewish Culture has been set for September 7, 2008. The day is a celebration of Jewish heritage sites and culture across Europe and is now observed in 30 countries. Developed following a program in Alsace that arranged for dozens of usually inaccessible synagogues, former synagogues and cemeteries to be open to the public, the Day of Jewish Culture now includes almost every conceivable type of cultural event including lectures, concerts, tours, and seminars. But access to Jewish sties for a wide (and mostly local public) and instruction about them remains at the heart of the celebration.

This year, the theme is “Testimonies”, chosen to highlight the cultural “imprint” left by the Jews wherever they have lived in Europe. Thus, the Cultural Day unites those places which retain active Jewish communities and those Jewish spaces without Jews.

Participating countries include Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom. In past years throughout Europe as many as 1,000 volunteers joined to organize and coordinate events.

The official program for the day is posted as it is developed, at

Each country arranges its day differently. For some, it is the only time that certain places are open. Elsewhere, the Day is used to draw attention to otherwise little-known sites that are now accessible year-round.

Since 2004, the event has being co-organized by B’nai B’rith Europe, the European Council of Jewish Communities and Red de Juderías de España. For more information:; details of the events online from June 2007 onwards.

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