We hope this message finds you safe in these difficult days. From the AEPJ we continue working to develop cultural initiatives and educational programs to European Jewish sites. The AEPJ network acts as channels for intercultural dialogue and promoting better knowledge and understanding of European history, creating awareness of cultural diversity and strengthening European citizens' cultural identity.
This month we bring you news about projects that propose a positive view of European Jewry, the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the European Days of Jewish Culture and a detailed look at our member of the month: Grodzka Gate.
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The European Days of Jewish Culture turns 20!
In 1996, Bnai Brith Strasbourg together with the local Agency of Tourism, started an open doors day in the department of Bas-Rhin. The aim was to open Jewish heritage sites, which were usually closed or without access, to the public. The aim was to promote and make Jewish heritage known to the general public. This fantastic idea flourished and 20 years ago prompted the creation of a network, the AEPJ, to develop what would become the European Days of Jewish Culture.
Today, April 30 2020, we would be celebrating the anniversary of this Festival together in the heart of Europe, at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Unfortunately, the event has had to be postponed due to the current health emergency. Despite this, we would like to share with you the joy of having reached this anniversary together. We are very proud that the AEPJ is recognized as a major player in the promotion of Jewish heritage in Europe, that our network has grown so much and of course, thanks to the collaboration of more than 350 institutions from over 28 countries, that the European Days of Jewish Culture is a means for the creation of a plural, inclusive and tolerant Europe.
We hope to toast with all of you soon and wish us another exciting 20 years of EDJC festivals.
The theme of last year's edition was chosen to honor this anniversary. We have already available the report that gathers all the performed activities.
European Routes of Jewish Heritage: We will go online!
During the last year all the members of The European Routes of Jewish Heritage have provided materials for the creation of the new website. If two months ago many contents were still missing, now we are almost there with the collecting of informations. Before going online, we took the decision to submit the contents to the Scientific Committee, in order to be sure to have certified informations. Concerning our communication plan, we have also another news for our members: we are currently developing the visual identity of The European Routes of Jewish Heritage.
NOA project: Networks Overcoming Antisemitism
Last week, the team of the AEPJ office presented to members and friends how the new NOA project (Networks Overcoming Antisemitism) will be developed. The NOA project brings major Jewish organizations together to tackle antisemitism and to share positive Jewish stories. The AEPJ is proudly participating actively in the different actions planned in this new European project with this consortium of institutions.
This initiative becomes a reality in the AEPJ through the creation of four seminars on Pluralism, connected to the European routes of Jewish heritage; and through the theme Multicultural Dialogue in the edition of the European Days of Jewish Culture 2021.
Nominate a project or a person to be featured in NOA's social media campaign!
The Noa Project, will feature regular social media campaigns that will focus on past and present Jewish contributions to Europe, representing contemporary role models, initiatives and stories that reinforce a positive narrative of European Jewry. By highlighting these stories, the project aims to bridge the gap of knowledge on Judaism, Jewish life and communities.
By nominating a person, a project or an event, you can put local initiatives that deserve much more attention than they receive now under the spotlight!
Are there Jewish Heritage sites close to your heart and memory? What are they? And what do they mean to you? With our new #MyParallelTraces campaign, launched in cooperation with Jewish Heritage Europe, we ask you to send us a virtual post card and let us know.
Travel may be difficult now; museums, exhibitions, and heritage sites are closed. But that doesn't mean we can't continue to rediscover and explore Jewish heritage throughout Europe - and #MyParallelTraces is an exciting, interactive platform to help do this. Even though we can't physically visit the places we hold dear, we can still engage with them - telling their stories and our own. It's easy and, we hope, fun.
Everyone likes to get postcards, and #MyParallelTraces lets you create, send and receive them online. We provide a fill-in form where you can post a picture of a Jewish heritage site and add both a brief explanation of its historical context and - importantly - a brief personal reflection on your own connection with that site. It can be a family connection, a historic connection, or a connection that is religious, urban, literary, or one rooted in memory, work, art, or - indeed - anything else. Think of it as a picture postcard with a printed caption and your own personal message you're sending to a friend or loved one.
The postcards we receive - with their photos and reflections - will be uploaded to our web site as a growing gallery: an open and pluralistic approach to Jewish heritage that offers a more personal perspective. It will provide space to interpret and reinterpret the heritage, and to ask ourselves about the meaning of each site - not just in the past, but also in the present and future.
Following the guidelines of The Council of Europe's Faro Convention, #MyParallelTraces is a new means of looking at heritage by reframing relations among stakeholders in a way that highlights the essential role of individuals and heritage communities alike. Jewish heritage is both a source and a resource, and everyone's opinion, interests and aspirations count. Including yours!
The #MyParallelTraces virtual mailbox is open - so fill in the form and send us your virtual postcards!
The Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre Centre (Ośrodek Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN) is a Lublin-based municipal cultural institution dealing with education and cultural heritage since 1992. The Centre’s work draws on the symbolic and historical significance of the building where it is located – the Grodzka Gate, which was once a passage way between the Christian and Jewish quarters, as well on Lublin’s position as the meeting point of various cultures, traditions, and religions.
"Properly conducted tourism of Jewish heritage carries with it great potential for civic education and counteracting xenophobia."
EMil has been working in Lublin for over fifteen years for heritage interpretation, a new media storytelling and an international cooperation. Check his story in this interview.
Online exhibition: Atlas of Memory Maps
Atlas of Memory Maps is an exhibition of maps and plans created by former inhabitants of cities and towns in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova and Slovakia (Jews and non-Jews), who in this way tried to save from oblivion the shape and character of their towns - destroyed or radically changed as a result of World War II and post-war changes. The exhibition shows the diversity of these maps, but also tries to capture their spirit and feelings that accompanied their creation.