Croatian city to host Sephardi collection


ZAGREB, Croatia, Sept. 10 (JTA) — An invaluable collection of Judaica is expected to go on display next year in the southern city of Dubrovnik, according to the leader of the Jewish community there.

A foundation founded by Francesca von Habsburg, wife of a member of Austria’s Habsburg dynasty, plans to collect the $100,000 needed to house the exhibit in a building adjacent to Dubrovnik’s historic synagogue, according to the community’s president, Dr. Bruno Horovitz.

The exhibit will take place by the summer of next year, he added.

The collection includes 54 pieces that Sephardi Jews brought to Dubrovnik after the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. Among the pieces are Torah scrolls dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Dubrovnik Synagogue, considered the oldest Sephardi synagogue still in use in Europe is located at No. 3 Judioska — or Jewish — Street in the narrow, stone-paved streets of Dubrovnik’s former Jewish Ghetto.

It is a two-story building, just like all the other houses in the neighborhood. Only the inscription on the door indicates that it is a house of worship, which for centuries housed the collection.

Dubrovnik’s official Jewish Community numbers 46 members, some of whom can trace their lineage to the families that came there from Spain five centuries ago.

The synagogue’s roof was hit by two shells during the civil war that ravaged the former Yugoslavia during the early 1990s. The building was renovated in 1997.

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