25 September 2008

Barcelona: Preserving Jewish heritage

I have just received this update from good friends Dominique Tomasov Blinder and David Stoleru in Barcelona, who head up the Zakhor Study Center for the Protection and Transmission of Jewish Heritage

In addition to participation in the European Day of Jewish Culture, Zakhor prepared two sessions for Barcelona and one in Castello d'Empuries; organized a Jewish quarter walk during the 2008 Barcelona Jewish Film Festival, as well as visits to Jewish Montjuic.

Zakhor's scientific committee will be headed by Professor Yom Tov Assis (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel), an expert on Sephardi Judaism in the Middle Ages. Other worldwide experts are being invited to this consulting team.

The group has signed cooperation agreements with prestigious institutions: Centre d’Estudis de Montjuïc, Barcelona; Fundación ATID, Barcelona; Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Barcelona; Editorial Raíces, Madrid; Department of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Instituto Ben Zvi, Jerusalem; and the International Survey of Jewish Monuments, New York. Institut Ramon Muntaner, an institution which groups Catalan centers of studies in several disciplines, has included us in their membership, and conversations have begun with the American Sephardi Foundation, New York.

Zakhor's goals:

- To contribute with a Jewish dimension to the interpretation of Jewish history and legacy, for its better understanding and comprehension and for the best use of heritage sites (cemeteries, Jewish quarters, etc.). Ancient cemeteries require special and urgent actions to protect them from any kind of abandonment, damage, excavation or improper interventions caused by urban growth.

- As a non-profit association, thus financing has to be secured through public or private grants, matching funds, professional fees for our services and donations. This allows us to work with qualified professionals and consultants to assure the best quality of each project. Center of Studies ZAKHOR hopes to receive support from individuals, organizations and the public administration, on the endeavors to preserve our treasured history and historic sites for future generations to enjoy.

- There are many ways in which readers can help ZAKHOR: sharing this information with others, organizing a lecture in your community where we can present our work, writing letters in support of our efforts or choosing a project that deserves your interest and support.

Dominique and David will continue to inform readers about their progress. Visitors to Barcelona are always welcome to visit their office.

For more information, click here. The website is in English, Catalan and Castilian. and describes their activities in great detail.

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