11 September 2009

European Day of Jewish Culture marked

Twenty European countries marked the 10th European Day of Jewish Culture dedicated to its rich Jewish heritage.

Participating countries this year included Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.

In Italy, nearly 60 cities and towns opened their synagogues, community centers and other Jewish sites for shows, concerts, exhibits, conferences and other events related to Italy's Jewish history. The main site was in Trani, in southern Puglia. A Jewish community still exists there five centuries after the expulsion of Jews from Naples.

In Turkey, the Jewish community even hosted an iftar (a fast-breaking dinner held during Ramadan) as one of the events.

In Bulgaria, the Shalom organization held an open house at the Jewish Community Center in Sofia, a few days before the 100th anniversary of the city's main synagogue consecration.

B'nai B'rith initiated, in 1996, the European Day of Jewish Culture. The annual event attracts some 200,000 people across Europe each year for diverse events.

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