The European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), an NGO created in 2004, is a network of European institutions, including public bodies, private foundations, federations of Jewish communities and NGO’s, that serves as a platform to develop cultural initiatives and educational programs to European Jewish sites. The AEPJ network acts as a channel for intercultural dialogue and promoting better knowledge and understanding of European history, creating awareness of cultural diversity and strengthening European citizens’ cultural identity.
The AEPJ serves as an organisational umbrella to welcome, promote, train and help develop unique Jewish cultural and heritage projects of excellence around Europe. A community, a network and a meeting point of professionals working in the field of Jewish Heritage. The AEPJ helps organisations develop their programs, offers training in the field of Jewish cultural tourism and exchange of good practices and promotes the development of transnational programs.
With a heritage approach in line with the Council of Europe, with its integrated and cross-disciplinary approach to cultural heritage and diversity, the AEPJ promotes fundamental European values of human rights, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue seeking to bring the Jewish heritage closer to all European citizens, involving them in the production, circulation and conservation of Jewish culture and heritage.
To do this, the AEPJ develops two main projects:
The European Days of Jewish Culture
The fundamental objective of this European-wide event, which has been organised since 1999, is to highlight the diversity and richness of Judaism and its local, regional and national historical importance, with the firm intention of promoting dialogue, recognition and exchange through conferences, concerts, performances, guided tours and other activities, which take place simultaneously throughout the continent.
The European Days of Jewish Culture festival is held every year around a central theme that serves as inspiration for all the activities that take place in a decentralised, pluralistic and open way from the first Sunday in September. The AEPJ has coordinated this event at European level since its beginnings, giving cohesion, visibility and relevance to the activities organised. In addition, the AEPJ offers training, resources and support to any organisation, institution or individual who wishes to organise an activity that allows Jewish culture to be shared with the whole of society.
This project has been extensively reinforced by the collaboration with the National Library of Israel, which has acted as a means to develop all kinds of exhibition and educational materials, which have given an important added value to the festival while facilitating its celebration throughout the continent.
The European Routes of Jewish Heritage
Cultural route certified by the Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe
The European Routes of Jewish Heritage is a project that invites you to travel and to discover the rich and diverse Jewish heritage of Europe, by bringing people and places together in networks of shared history and heritage, providing a wealth of leisure and educational activities for all citizens across Europe, while being a key resource for responsible tourism and sustainable development.
The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”, which was awarded to AEPJ in 2004, is a guarantee of excellence. The network implements innovative activities and projects pertaining to five main priority fields of action: co-operation in research and development; enhancement of memory, history and European heritage; cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practice; cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development.
Board of administration 2022
Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Currently, the President of AEPJ and is one of the founders of the European Days of Jewish Culture. Has worked on the project since the beginning. Has been formerly chairperson of the European Union of Jewish Students, Director of B’nai B’rith Europe and President of the Jewish community of Luxembourg.
Claude Bloch is one of the founders of the AEPJ, and is presently its Honorary President. She has dedicated many years of her life to the promotion of Jewish culture in Europe. She was particularly engaged in developing the Jewish Heritage in Alsace and setting up the European Day of Jewish Culture. Likewise, Claude played a crucial role in fostering lasting relations with the Council of Europe and establishing fruitful cooperation with this Institution.
Marta Madrenas is a Spanish politician and lawyer. Since 2016 she has been the mayor of Girona and since 17 January 2018 she has been a member of the Parliament of Catalonia in the XII legislature for the electoral coalition Junts per Catalunya.
Since 1987 working for the restoration of the Jewish neighbourhood of Girona in Spain. Director of the Patronat Call de Girona since 1992, founder member of the Red de Juderías de España in 1995, having the responsibility of Secretary-General until 2016. Founder member on the AEPJ association and current Secretary-General.
Member of the AEPJ’ board since 2007 as volunteer treasurer, involved in Jewish Heritage preservation in Alsace, France, since 1988. CFO of an international Non-Profit Organisation dealing with EC grants and scientific services.
Noemi Di Segni
Since July 2016 the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities has been Noemi Di Segni. Born in Jerusalem but Roman by adoption, married with three children, former Councillor for the Budget of the UCEI Council, Di Segni is in charge of the International Activities Office of the National Council of Accountants.
Annie Sacerdoti, journalist, author of the first “Guide to Jewish Italy” and a series of regional Italian Jewish Itineraries and Italian Jewish Museums. Member of the Board of AEPJ from the beginning, she was in the team of the first European Day of Jewish Culture. She is Vice President of Fondazione Beni Culturali ebraici in Italia (UCEI).
Castelo de Vide, Portugal
From 2001 to 2013 he was a councilman at Castelo de Vide City Hall and was appointed vice-president during that period, where he took charge of Tourism, Culture, Environment and Cross-border Cooperation. Since October 2013 he has held the position of Mayor of Castelo de Vide. Current chairperson of Rede de Judiarias de Portugal.
Member of the Board since 2018. Representative of JECPJ-France as Chairman of this French association. JECPJ-France coordinates all involved cities and Jewish cultural associations in their participation in the EDJC and also aims at networking the French regional routes of Jewish heritage now being developed in France. Also an active member of the steering committee in charge of organizing the EDJC in Alsace, a French region with an outstanding Jewish heritage.
Claudia De Benedetti
Società Immobiliare Agricola Settentrionale, Torino, Italy, CEO
Fideuram – Intesa San Paolo Private Banking, Milano, Italy, Executive Board Member
ANU International Board of Trustees Member, Tel Aviv, Israel
Maccabi World Union Board of Trustees Member, Ramat Gan, Israel
World Zionist Organization, Extended Executive Member, Jerusalem, Israel
Jewish Agency Sochnut Italy, Honoray President, Jerusalem, Israel
UCEI Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane, Board of Arbitrators – Collegio dei Probiviri – President, Roma, Italy
Jewish Museum and Synagogue of Casale Monferrato, Executive Director, Italy
MEIS – Museum of the Italian Jewry and Shoah, Scientific Committee Member, Ferrara, Italy
Itsik Moshe became a member of AEPJ board of administration in 2022.
As part of his academic studies at the University of Tel Aviv, he received two bachelor’s degrees in sciences of education and technologies. In 2020 he was awarded 2 international certificates, Certificate of Appreciation from Georgian-American University and Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Georgia.
In 1989, during the Soviet regime he established the first mission of WUJS in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, and after that in other countries of the Soviet Union.
In 1990, he was elected as the first representative of the Jewish Agency in the Soviet Union; he opened 5 Jewish Agency Representation Centers in South Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1994 he achieved the highest professional role and became the director of the central mission of Jewish Agency located in Moscow.
Since 1996 Mr. Moshe has been serving as the President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business and today he is the chairman of the Trade and Investments Commission of the ICC Georgia.
In 2013 he founded Israeli House, which represents the organization of Israeli Hasbara.
At the same time, he is the Chairman of the Association of Friends of the Museum of Prehistory located in the Upper Galilee.
In 2021 he was elected as a Vice President of the European Alliance for Israel (EAI)
Born in Israel to survivor parents from Sighet Maramures and Bucharest, Romania; Peninah served the Toronto Jewish Community for over 40 years, Principal at Jewish Schools, Holocaust Museum Director and Adath Israel Synagogue Sisterhood President.
In 2014 Peninah initiated the “70th Anniversary Commemoration to the Sighet Deportations” followed by “All Generations Gatherings” in 2015, 2017 and 2019 attracting over 1000 participants, from all over the world.
“Fundatia Tarbut Sighet- Cultura si Educatie Iudaica” (FTS) was established in October 2014. FTS mission is to assist All Generations with their Genealogy research and organizing “Family Roots/Routes Journeys”; at the same time FTS provides Jewish cultural programs with Pre & Post Holocaust themes for the regional high schools and the Cultural Centers across Romania.
Ms. Zilberman is an active member of the Jewish Federation of Romanian Jewish Communities.
Judith Kiriaty Matalon
President and chairperson, leading since 1982 the MORDECHAI KIRIATY FOUNDATION, a philanthropic non-profit N.G.O., that has encouraged and supported humanitarians educational and cultural institutions. The Foundation has initiated two major ventures and supports them: the PEACE ACADEMY which focuses on teaching peace studies in Israel, and the IZMIR PROJECT which focuses on preservation of the historic synagogues in Izmir-Turkey, and establishing there a Jewish Museum.
Victor Sorenssen is director of the AEPJ since 2017. He has studied Political Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where he did a stage at the Observatory of European Policies. He has been director of the Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona and founder of the Jewish Cultural platform Mozaika, where he has helped develop projects such as Sefer Barcelona, the Jewish Book Festival or the Salam-Shalom initiative.
Federico Szarfer Barenblit
Federico Szarfer, based in Barcelona, works as project manager of different EU funding projects and of the European Days of Jewish Culture. He also takes care of the communication of the AEPJ. He conceives his work as the design and creation of experiences for cultural institutions, television, theatre and events. His passion is communicating Jewish culture as a pluralistic, current and meaningful heritage that can engage anyone. He is the founder and member of the Jewish Cultural Platform Mozaika in Barcelona.
Marc Francesch Camps
Marc Francesch Camps, based in Girona, is the European Routes of Jewish Heritage project manager since June 2022. Cultural consultant focused on the analysis and planning of cultural systems, heritage and museums and professor at the Open University of Catalunya (UOC) Master’s in Cultural Management. He strongly believes in the role of Jewish culture and heritage in contributing to contemporary challenges, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda on issues such as quality education, reducing inequalities, creating opportunities, among others.
The AEPJ is formed by 30 organisations
B’nai B’rith Europe
B’nai B’rith Europe is a Jewish association that is present in 28 countries. B’nai B’rith means “Son of the Alliance” – the concept of alliance is a key concept in the Bible and in Judaism – and it has non-governmental organisational status. Its role is to fight racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism; to support the State of Israel; to help the needy; to promote Jewish identity; to strengthen the knowledge about the Jewish presence in Europe through culture and heritage; to encourage and train young Jewish adults for leadership in the Jewish communities.
Patronat Call de Girona
Established in 1992 by the Girona City Council, the Girona Provincial Council and the Autonomous Government of Catalonia. The Patronat is responsible for the physical and cultural restoration of the Jewish heritage in Girona, including the renovation, revitalisation and promotion of the historic Jewish Quarter, named Call. The Museum of the History of the Jews and the Nahmanides Institute for Jewish Studies, are the two main bodies.
Rede de Judiarias de Portugal
The Portuguese Network of Jewish Quarters – Routes of Sepharad is a public association ruled by private law, with the intention to act jointly to defend the urban, architectural, environmental, historical and cultural heritage in connection with Jewish heritage. Thus, the Portuguese Network of Jewish Quarters, founded on March 17th 2011, aims to combine the recovery of history and heritage with the promotion of tourism, which will also help to reveal a strong component of the Portuguese and peninsular identity.
Diputació de Lleida
The Diputació de Lleida is a county council institution that has its reason for being in the town councils of the Region of Lleida, Catalonia. Presided over since 2011 by Joan Reñé, the corporation jointly with the L’Institut d’Estudis Ilerdencs, and the Tourism Board, create a project under the moto “Perseguits i Salvats”. This project recovers and indicates the four itineraries used around 80,000 refugees to escape the Nazis in the World War II, it is estimated that about 20,000 were Jewish. This initiative coincides with the recovery of the Chemin de la Liberté (liberty road), route of evasion that joined the French Department of Ariège with the region of Pallars Sobirà, The routes are about 150 km. distributed around different regions in France and Spain Pyrenees.
Agudath Israel in Moldova
Agudath Israel Jewish orthodox community in Moldova is situated in a historical building of the Hay synagogue and “Sinai” Yeshiva in Chisinau constructed in 1886. Agudath Israel has been realizing its activities in the republic for over 30 years.
The organization’s main aims and goals are:
- Restoring and keeping Jewish life in Moldova
- Attracting youth and middle-aged to Jewish roots
- Develop new approaches to the Jewish educational and cultural programs
- Maintenance of synagogues and places of Jewish history in Moldova
- Welfare and humanitarian aid to the needy, COVID-19 pandemic victims
- Developing local and international partnerships with the state institutions, NGOs, foreign Embassies, community, cultural and educational institutions
The core activities include celebrating Jewish holidays, keeping traditions, learning Torah, educational programs for children, summer camps, classes of Hebrew, production of kosher food, welfare assistance to the needy. The programs in total embrace over 700 people in the three biggest centers of the country – Chisinau, Balti and Tiraspol.
Azerbaijan Tourism Board
Azerbaijan Tourism Board is in charge of regulation of the activities, development of tourism, and the promotion of Azerbaijan as a destination. Core tasks of ATB include managing Azerbaijan’s destination brand, innovative marketing in the most internationally promising markets, and transferring our knowledge of guests and markets to the domestic tourism industry. Since 2016 joined the AEPJ and they work in a specific itinerary through Jewish local sites.
Burgenländische Forschungsgesellschaft (Research Society Burgenland)
The Burgenländische Forschungsgesellschaft – Research Society Burgenland (BFG) was founded in 1987 as a regional research and educational institution at the interface between science and adult education. Its goal is the advancement of education, science and research in a structurally weak, rural and peripheral border region. Research and educational work in regional context are therefore constitutive elements of what the BFG does.
As a regional research institute, the BFG supports institutions and decision-makers in Burgenland in analyzing, developing and preparing current topics in the areas of education, culture and society and acts as an important interface to national and European educational policy discussion and research. The research results are published in the form of publications, studies or project reports and communicated to experts, politicians, multipliers and the media through symposia, conferences, workshops or websites.
In the field of contemporary history and civic education, the BFG’s expertise lies in the history of Judaism in Burgenland. In this context and next to other projects, the BFG has organized and coordinated the European Days of Jewish Culture in Burgenland since 2014.
CoopCulture is a cooperative operating in the heritage and cultural activities sector in Italy.
CoopCulture is a qualified partner positioned to offer answers and solutions to the increasingly complex needs of a continuously evolving sector, from the perspective of integration between cultural heritage and territory and between culture, tourism and local economy.
With the intention of bringing diverse audiences closer to art, it has developed user paths differentiated by language and method, taking advantage of the potentials offered by new technologies and paying special attention to local communities in all of their aspects, families, young people, children, the elderly and immigrant communities.
Coordination Committee of the Jewish Communities in the Republic of Croatia
The Coordination Committee of the Jewish Communities in the Republic of Croatia brings together nine of Croatia’s historic Jewish communities (JC Čakovec, Daruvar, Dubrovnik, Koprivnica, Osijek, Rijeka, Slavonski Brod, Split & Zagreb). In 1992, the CCJCRC convened a meeting of Jewish historic communities in the Republic of Croatia, and in 1995, the Coordination was formed to represent the common interests of nine historical communities and to strengthen their autonomy and identity.
Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic
The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic (FJC) is an umbrella organisation representing 10 Czech Jewish Communities and other independent Jewish institutions across the Czech Republic.
FJC coordinates the activities of the Jewish communities’ especially in religious, social, educational and cultural aspects. FJC works with Czech government institutions, state administration, local authorities, or other Czech institutions. FJC also functions and cooperates with foreign institutions and organisations.
FJC actively monitors the environment against all manifestations of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, fascism or any other discrimination. Federation protects the memory of Shoah victims. FJC preserves and maintains the Jewish monuments in the Czech Republic, promotes the Jewish culture and heritage, educates the young people and provides care for the elderly, funds Jewish needs and supports Israel.