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June 16, 2005
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The first Festival of Jewish Cultures of Paris began Wednesday and will last two weeks. The event is sponsored by the Unified Jewish Social Fund, and the theme is “Honoring Yiddish.” Events include exhibitions, roundtables, concerts, children’s activities, plays, films and a conference on Isaac Bashevis Singer. “We wanted to make it a community festival. The objective was to make it as pluralist as possible,” explained Lucien Khalfa, head of the fund’s cultural department. The festival is being held in the Marais, a Jewish neighborhood of Paris, to recall the era when Yiddish was spoken in the local shops. The first event is the inauguration of the Place Bernard Lazare, named for the first journalist to stand up in defense of Alfred Dreyfus in 1894. Next year’s festival will be dedicated to Sephardi culture, Khalfa said, in partnership with Barcelona and Montreal.

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