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New book offers overview of 42 European Jewish communities

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(JTA) — Forty-two Jewish communities have participated in the writing of a newly published book that aims to give an overview of European Jewry today. 

The book, an initiative of the European Jewish Congress titled “Working Together for a Brighter Future,” was published last month and draws from texts and photos submitted by Jewish communities from Portugal to Russia. The coffee-table-sized book includes colorful spreads of famous buildings like Florence’s Tempio Maggiore Synagogue and more obscure but ancient institutions like the Kadisha synagogue in Dvinsk, Latvia.

It also contains little-known accounts ranging from how Turkish diplomats saved thousands of European Jews during the Holocaust to the number of kosher grocery stores in Luxembourg (one.)    

"European Jewry has undergone a transformation and vital evolution from a community many thought was on the brink of extinction, to a flourishing and innovative community,” EJC President Moshe Kantor told JTA, explaining the organization’s reason for publishing the 378-page book. “This book is an important expression of the revitalization of European Jewry and demonstrates our duty to the past, commitment to the present and obligation to the future.” 

Kantor called the book “a documented snapshot of current European Jewish communities that is of great historic significance.”

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