Barcelona, 8 September, 2023 – Today marked a significant moment in the cultural calendar of Catalonia as the European Days of Jewish Culture (EDJC) were inaugurated at the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya in Barcelona. This event brought together a distinguished panel of guests, including Assumpció Hosta i Rebés, the Secretary-General of the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), Victor Sorenssen, the Director of AEPJ, and Daniela Rosenfeld, the Director of the Jewish Film Festival in Barcelona and coordinator of EDJC in Catalonia. The event was also graced by the presence of the Honorary Consul of Israel in Catalonia, Yosef David Sanchez-Molina, and Carles Armengol, the Director of Religious Affairs for the Generalitat of Catalonia. The event ended with a musical performance by “La jueva de tortosa” (Pili Cugat and Carlon Lupprian).
The speeches from these prominent figures echoed themes of hope, coexistence, and the power of culture to bridge the past and future:
Assumpció Hosta, in her opening remarks, stated,
“We want to interpret the word ‘memory’ in the context of the future, not the past. These days are a sigh of hope in an increasingly conflict-ridden Europe. Our proposal emphasizes culture as a means to build bridges toward the future.”
Victor Sorenssen highlighted the collaborative effort behind this year’s program, saying,
“More than 20 institutions have worked tirelessly to create an extensive, diverse, cross-cutting, and unique program. We aim to develop positive narratives of coexistence and navigate the negotiation between the present, past, and future.”
Daniela Rosenfeld emphasized the intrinsic connection between Jewish culture and European history, stating,
“Jewish culture and history are intrinsically linked to European culture and history. In our 25th anniversary, we focus on Europe’s memory and aim to combat the mythification of the Holocaust.”
About the Festival: The European Days of Jewish Culture take place from September to November in various venues across Barcelona, Girona, and other towns in the Catalonia region. This annual program, initiated in 1999 by the Patronat Call de Girona, is now coordinated with other cities in the region. The festival is celebrated in a decentralized, plural, and open manner, with the aim of highlighting the diversity and richness of Judaism and its historical significance at the local, regional, and national levels. It promotes dialogue, recognition, and exchange through a wide range of activities organized simultaneously throughout Europe.
Each year, the festival centers around a central theme that inspires all its activities. The theme for the 2023 edition is “Memory.” The European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ) has been coordinating this event across Europe since its inception, providing cohesion, visibility, and relevance to the organized activities.
Two major events within the program are the Jewish Film Festival, celebrating its 25th edition from October 4 to 19, and Séfer, the Jewish Book Festival, taking place from September 26 to 30, celebrating its 8th edition. These events, spanning cinema, literature, music, theater, and various artistic expressions, are essential means of conveying ideas, interpretations of life, and cultural diversity. They pay tribute to the past while looking towards the future, welcoming new generations.
The culture of the Jewish people is undeniably one of the foundational pillars of Western civilization, with its roots stretching to the present day. It represents diversity in languages, territories, traditions, and artistic expressions, as well as the experience of otherness. This year’s festival benefits from the funding of the European Union through the CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights, and Values) program and UNESCO recognition, along with the collective effort of participating cities and organizations throughout Catalonia, allowing for an expanded and enhanced program.
Objectives of the European Days of Jewish Culture:
The European Days of Jewish Culture in Catalonia promise a vibrant and enriching cultural journey, celebrating diversity, memory, and the power of culture to unite people from all walks of life. This year’s theme of “Memory” invites us to reflect on our shared history and create a brighter future together.