European Days of Jewish Culture open in Maribor

Maribor – The Maribor Synagogue will hold open day on Sunday to kick start a series of events celebrating the annual European Days of Jewish Culture in Slovenia. This year the events focus on the theme of renewal.

Renewal is woven into virtually all aspects of Jewish life and practice – in fact Jewish life is continually building on the past in new ways – bringing a sense of constant change with reassuring continuity, the National Library of Israel wrote in a message on the occasion.

In Slovenia events will concentrated in the north-east of the country, in Maribor, Murska Sobota, Negova, Lendava and Ptuj.

The open day at the Maribor Synagogue will include a guided tour of Lady Bluetooth – Hedy Lamarr, the visiting exhibition of the Jewish Museum Vienna on the iconic Hollywood actress.

A touring exhibition on the Jewish history of Maribor, mounted by the Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor, will open at Negova Castle on Thursday.

On 14 September, another visiting exhibition, showcasing the prayer and ritual books of the pre-war Jewish community of Prekmurje will open at the Murska Sobota regional library.

Lendava will host an international conference on 23 September themed We Must Never Forget – in memory and as a reminder of the Holocaust and in promotion of tolerance and solidarity in the EU.

Jews represented a seizable portion of the population in the region of Prekmurje before the Holocaust and Lendva was home to one of the biggest and most active Jewish communities.

In the late 19th century, the Jewish community of Prekmurje numbered about 1,100, but its size shrunk to less than a half by the start of World War II. Most of its members perished in concentration camps.

In the most recent census in Slovenia, conducted in 2002, 28 people declared themselves as Jewish by nationality and 99 as members of Jewish faith.

However, some unofficial estimates quoted on the website of the Maribor Synagogue put the number of people of Jewish origin in Slovenia at between 300 and 500.

The European Days of Jewish Culture is a cross-European project that has been running since 2000. It aims to shed light on the diversity and richness of Judaism and its historical significance in the local, regional and national environment.

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