The four co-ordinating organisations of the
European Day of Jewish Culture, namely B'nai B'rith Europe,
l'Agence du Tourisme du Bas-Rhin (ADT-Alsace), the European
Council of Jewish Communities and the Spanish Routes of
Jewish Heritage (Red de Juderias de Espana) decided to pursue
their co-operation by creating the European Routes of Jewish
This route will be an opportunity to show the
richness of the Jewish contribution in Europe, without reducing in
whatsoever degree the horrors of the Shoah on the Jewish
People. Thus, behind the creation of such a route, the idea is to
adopt a more positive approach to Jewish history in Europe, as well
as the Jews' history in Europe.
A European Route of Jewish Heritage would consist
in the highlighting of the buildings (synagogues and cemeteries,
mikve...) 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 route of Jewish heritage would thus,
make the Jewish sites more visible whilst at the same time, making
the cults in Judaism more apparent, transparent and accessible to
The synagogue and the cemetery are two examples of
the architectural heritage which Jews have granted to Europe. Each
of these buildings has an important symbolic meaning.
objectives of the route
This project contributes to the education process
on tolerance of the citizens. It illustrates the diversity of
humanity as well as the richness of the customs of a minority.
It 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 Route intends 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.
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 Route of Jewish Heritage will mark the influence the
legacy Jews have left in many regions of Europe throughout
The European Route of Jewish Heritage will cross
Europe from the South to the North and from Western Europe to
Central and Eastern Europe. Jewish sites will be linked by common
elements, by a Jewish heritage, which is a full part of the
historical and cultural European heritage. The highlight of the
European Route of Jewish heritage will be based on a number of
events, with places particularly rich in historical references,
which are representative of European culture as a whole.
A strong focus on Eastern and Central European
countries should greatly contribute to the spiritual and historical
rebuilding of destroyed Jewish Communities, to a better knowledge
of Europe's own history, and to creating a strong incentive for
Western European Jews to reassess their own heritage in a more
The Route 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.