COE BB UCEI FSJU RJE RJP

European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ)

Pesach Sameach - Happy Passover!

PESACH SAMEACH – HAPPY PASSOVER!

Introduction

The project of the European Routes of Jewish Heritage has been promoted by an alliance of several Jewish and non-Jewish organisations, including tourist agencies as well as volunteer organisations. It is a unique example of putting together experiences from many walks of life, for a common goalshared by all, the preservation and the promotion of Jewish heritage as aEuropean heritage.

The European Routes of Jewish Heritage would focus on the pedagogic aspects of discovering Europe's rich heritage and will particularly target young people.

Stemming from the Latin word 'patrimonium', which means inheritance of the father, the term "heritage" - evoking the goods that one possesses, the treasures of the past and the genetic wealth of each human being - became a banner under which many objects and monuments were included. However, this historical notion was born relatively later in the mind of humanity.

In Antiquity, Greek and Latin authors established several unforgettable lists of monuments. Nevertheless, all of these marvels today only remain the royal tombs of the Pharaohs Cheopses, Chephrens and Mykerinoses. It is an imperceptible sign of the major role held by burials in the becoming of the monuments of our heritage.

Many centuries later, the development of Christianity was to be one of the corner stones of a sincere will of everlastingness. Thus, the burial of Dagobert the Ist in the church of Saint-Dennis, in 638, makes of the future basilica, the necropolis of our rulers. When in 875, monks chased from Noirmoutier by the Norman invasions get settled in Burgundy with Charles the Bald's support, they offer the body of Saint Philibert a haven of peace and founded the abbey of Tournus. Finally, when Saint Louis built the Saint-Chapel on the island of the Cité, in Paris, he did so as to shut away the relics of Christ, which were given to him by the emperor of Orient, Baudouin II.

Whilst historically the definition of the word heritage may be retraced in general terms, in Europe nowadays each country or region has its own definition of heritage.

The European Routes of Jewish Heritage

Being constantly reminded of Europe's dark past in its relationship with the Jewish people, it is often thought that this is the sole relationship, which the continent has had with Jews. Without at all reducing the importance of the horrors of the Shoah on the Jewish people, this itinerary of Jewish heritage is an opportunity to show the richness of the Jewish contribution in Europe. The idea behind the creation of such an itinerary is thus, to adopt a more positive approach of the Jewish history in Europe as well as the history of the Jews in Europe.

A European Routes of Jewish Heritage will consist in the highlighting of the buildings (synagogues and cemeteries, mikve (ritual bath) --) which have been left to us by the Jewish communities across Europe. In doing so, it will inevitably tackle the wider issues of Judaism, Jewish culture and Jewish traditions. A European routes of Jewish heritage will thus, make the Jewish sites more visible whilst at the same time, making the cults in Judaism more apparent, transparent and accessible to European citizens. These routes are part of an in depth exploration of the theme of cultural diversity and [more specifically] the recognition of "the Other".

This project participates in the education process on tolerance of the citizens. Indeed, knowing is already liking. On the opposite, the ignorance of the other citizens' beliefs, customs and way of life leads to fear and intolerance. Thus, opening elements of the Jewish culture to the broad public is an intercultural learning process in a wider sense. It shows the diversity of Mankind, the richness of the customs of a minortiy. According to the philosopher Lévi-Strauss, the discovery of differences (altérité) is the discovery of a relationship, not of a barrier.

Religion is often thought of as having divided people. Historians remind us constantly of the importance and impact throughout Europe of the wars of religion. This Jewish itinerary proposes a different approach and highlights the federative factor of Judaism and the unity of the Jewish people throughout Europe and history. It offers the possibility to discover the many facets of the European identity and as well that of Judaism and the Jewish people. The itinerary will recreate a cross-cultural, pan European space in which European citizens can discover the variety and value of Jewish heritage throughout the European continent.

This itinerary, through the visual exhibition of the so-called "buildings or remains" is to highlight Europe's multiculturalism brought about partly by the exchange with the Jewish people. It should be noted that this exchange and influence of lifestyles in a two way process. Indeed, Jewish heritage is historical evidence that the Jewish people were affected and influenced by the society they lived in. (eg: architecture of synagogues, use of languages such as Yiddish, Ladino...). The European Routes of Jewish Heritage will mark the influence the legacy Jews have left in many regions of Europe throughout history.

The European Routes of Jewish Heritage intend to make the Europeans aware of the cultural richness brought by the Jews across Europe during their stay in so many different regions. It further wishes to preserve and enhance part of the European cultural heritage that the Jewish sites scattered around Europe represent. It finally has the goal to promote tourism around these sites.

The promotion of an itinerary of Jewish heritage is not only the promotion of the heritage left by the Jewish People but it is also that left by Europeans who by religion were Jewish. Thus, it is the promotion of the wider concept of one important part of the European heritage. Throughout the centuries Jews have very much been impregnated by the cultures and society they were living in. In contrast, their traditions and religion somewhat influenced their lifestyles as well as the European society.

The Routes of Jewish Heritage would not only enable visitors to discover the history of the Jewish people but would also enable them to know better their local and national history. Indeed, there are Jewish communities across Europe. From Dublin to Ankara and from Helsinki to Malta, these communities have shared the fate of the local inhabitants of a region or of a country. Together, they have suffered the wars and have enjoyed the victories of their nations. Together, they have created their own values, their ways of life and a common heritage, our Europe.

The Jewish People like all other European citizens have played a role in the building of Europe. Jews have worked in their way for a European ideal. From their experience and that of others, they have played an important role in constructing a Europe full of values and ideals of freedom, rights and duties.

The European Network

The European Routes of Jewish Heritage intend to make the Europeans aware of the cultural richness brought by the Jews across Europe during their stay in so many different regions. It further wishes to preserve and enhance part of the European cultural heritage that the Jewish sites scattered around Europe represent. It finally has the goal to promote tourism around these sites.

The promotion of an itinerary of Jewish heritage is not only the promotion of the heritage left by the Jewish People but it is also that left by Europeans who by religion were Jewish. Thus, it is the promotion of the wider concept of one important part of the European heritage. Throughout the centuries Jews have very much been impregnated by the cultures and society they were living in. In contrast, their traditions and religion somewhat influenced their lifestyles as well as the European society.

The Routes of Jewish Heritage would not only enable visitors to discover the history of the Jewish people but would also enable them to know better their local and national history. Indeed, there are Jewish communities across Europe. From Dublin to Ankara and from Helsinki to Malta, these communities have shared the fate of the local inhabitants of a region or of a country. Together, they have suffered the wars and have enjoyed the victories of their nations. Together, they have created their own values, their ways of life and a common heritage, our Europe.

The Jewish People like all other European citizens have played a role in the building of Europe. Jews have worked in their way for a European ideal. From their experience and that of others, they have played an important role in constructing a Europe full of values and ideals of freedom, rights and duties.

Route specifications

Route specification by the Council of Europe

Download the PDF


Jewish heritage is an integral part of European history and culture. Much of Jewish history and culture is rooted in Europe, with a story of migrations, persecutions and precariousness; but also of exchanges, humanism and a profusion of mutual enrichment. Judaism has had an impact on the lifestyles (cooking, singing, dancing, language etc.) of most Europeans, through it by the values it promotes, or by the fact that for centuries Jews and non-Jews have lived alongside each other. Indeed, everywhere they have lived and were able to do so, Jews built synagogues, or have left a cemetery and other traces. Not only to express their faith, but also as living testimony of their presence and of their contribution to life and the development of their village, city or region. Testimony of particularism, this heritage is also a sign of their will to integrate in the surrounding society, without giving up their religion, enriching by their contribution the evolution of a common life.

The European Jewish heritage mainly includes:

  • archaeological sites, old synagogues and cemeteries, ritual baths, Jewish quarters, monuments and memorials,
  • archives and libraries held by Jewish and non-Jewish institutions,
  • a growing number of museums to study, protect and publicise Jewish life and its religious and daily artefacts.

The European Route of Jewish Heritage highlights and the links of these buildings which have been left to us by the Jewish communities across Europe. Its main goals are to preserve and promote Jewish heritage, to develop tourism around these sites and to make Europeans aware of the cultural richness brought by the Jews during their stay in so many different regions in Europe. The project was born out of the European Day of Jewish Culture. Since 2000, every first Sunday of September, in about 25 countries across Europe, Jewish sites are opened to the public for visits and explanations, making out of this day a major event in the calendar for tourism, learning and cultural enrichment. The Day attracts more than 100.000 visitors each year.

The European Day of Jewish Culture and the European Route of Jewish Heritage have been promoted by an alliance of several Jewish and non-Jewish organisations, including tourist agencies as well as volunteer organisations. The strength of this network lies in its variety. This European network is composed of 3 organisations, two European Jewish organisations namely B’nai B’rith Europe (BBE) and the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC) and a Spanish network of municipalities, Red de Juderias de España (Spanish Jewish Network).

The Routes

App per iPhone: Routes of the European Council



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Découvrir l’Alsace juive au départ de Strasbourg



Download the file (Requires Acrobat Reader): Découvrir l’Alsace juive au départ de Strasbourg.

Letter from the Director of the European Cultural Routes Institute

Luxembourg, 4 June 2012

Dear Managers of the European Route of Jewish Heritage,

Following its meeting on 14-16 May, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Culture, Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP) adopted the decisions concerning the 2011-2012 cultural routes evaluation procedure as submitted by the Governing Board of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes after its meeting on 12 April (see the final decisions adopted on 16 May at: PDF)

Of the 25 evaluations made, 21 concerned existing routes and 4 the assessment of new proposals for routes.

The CDCPP confirmed the decisions of the Governing Board of 12 April, taken in the light of the recommendations made by its Bureau, which I communicated to you in a letter dated 7 March. The Steering Committee confirmed the certification of 10 of the 21 routes evaluated and decided to reevaluate 4 routes in 2012-2013. It decided further that the certification of 7 routes should be withdrawn and agreed to the certification of 2 of the 4 new proposals submitted.

It is therefore with satisfaction that I can confirm the approval of the European Route of Jewish Heritage network and its confirmation as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. The route will next be evaluated in three years’ time.

I hope to meet you and the partners in the network soon, especially during the training seminar on 3-7 September and at the Cultural Routes’ Annual Advisory Forum in November in Colmar.

Yours sincerely


Penelope Denu
Executive Secretary, Council of Europe
Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes
Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes