European Day of Jewish Culture to have record 35 countries participating


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Thirty years after its initiation, the European Day of Jewish Culture will have a record number of countries participating.

Azerbaijan for the first time will be a participant in the intergovernmental project on Sept. 4 highlighting Europe’s Jewish heritage. From the Azeri capital of Baku to Belem in Portugal, hundreds of cities and Jewish institutions will join for a series of activities around the theme of Jewish languages.

Previous themes, which change each year, have included women in Judaism, intercultural bridges, Jewish humor and Jewish cooking. The themes are selected and loosely coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, an umbrella of six groups including B’nai B’rith Europe and Portugal’s network of Jewish historical quarters and heritage sites.

In Portugal, where many Jews used to speak the major Jewish dialect of Ladino, one of the events will be held slightly after the official date, on Sept. 10-11, in the city of medieval city of Ourém, 80 miles north of Lisbon. The event, featuring the  theme “Diaspora and Jewish Culture,” will feature concerts by Rodrigo Leão, one of Portugal’s most popular singers and a winner of the nation’s Golden Globe award, the Diario Leiria local newspaper reported Tuesday. Leao will sing in Ladino.

Ourem had a Jewish population of several hundred before 1536, prior to the Portuguese Inquisition.

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