The European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), 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 channels 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 fundamental objective of this European-wide event, which has been organised since 2000, 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. For three years this project now, has been extensively reinforced by the collaboration with the National Library of Israel, who 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 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.
The AEPJ coordinates this project with its members of the network and the support of its Scientific Committee.
Furthermore, the AEPJ participates in different European projects of programs such as Creative Europe, Erasmus+ or REC, mostly funded by the European Union.
Board of administration 2018-2020
Claude Bloch is one of the founder of the AEPJ, and 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 a fruitful cooperation with this Institution.
Since 1987 working for the restoration of 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 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 participating to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
European Routes of Jewish Heritage Project Manager
Federica Pastoret is the Project Manager of the European Routes of Jewish Heritage, one of the two leading programs of the AEPJ. Graduated in Development of Mountain Tourism, she was awarded the Fréderic Mistral scholarship in 2017 for a two more years master’s in Museum and Heritage Studies. Her main research interest are cultural heritage and tourism, culture and local identity from a regional development perspective, alpine tourism, cultural routes and itineraries, as well as territorial partnership strategies and cultural promotion policies for contemporary art development.
Federico Szarfer Barenblit
Communication Manager and EDJC Project Manager
Federico Szarfer, based in Barcelona, works as project manager of the European Days of Jewish Culture and takes care of the communication of the AEPJ. He conceives his work as the design and creation of experiences for cultural institutions, television, theater and events. His passion is communicating Jewish culture as a pluralistic, current and meaningful heritage that can engage anyone. He is founder and member of the Jewish Cultural Platform Mozaika in Barcelona.
The AEPJ is formed by 25 organisations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
HAGGADAH Association is a non-profit organisation for preserving and promoting jewish culture and tradition in Balkan and Bosnia and Herzegovina was established to preserve and promote Jewish culture and tradition. Haggadah is dedicated to promote and preserve this heritage and to disseminate information about Balkan-Bosnian Jewish culture and heritage.
Our duty is to educate tourist guides to be able to lead the Tour «Jewish Sarajevo», Jewish Mostar and Jewish Balkan tour.
Haggadah offer new destination to preserve good memories on Bosnian's Jews: Visit original manuscript Sarajevo's Haggadah, Pilgrimage to Stolac on the TZADIK grave Rabbi Moshe Danon, Old Jewish cemetery –with specific tombstones, Bosnian Sephardic cuisine. HAGGADAH tries to preserve Sarajevo’s reputation as The European Jerusalem.
The Israeli House NET (NGO) was established in 2013 in Tbilisi and works to achieve solidarity by public diplomacy and enhance the cooperation between Israel and friendly states among them Georgia. One of the important goals is to promote the Jewish Heritage, and present it a bridge between Georgia, Israel and the World Jewry, and also to promote the remembrance of the Holocaust. At the Israeli House NET, lectures on topics related to Israel and Jewish Culture and Heritage are conducted regularly. Also, meetings, exhibitions, presentations and seminars are organized in the cultural, economic, business, technological or political spheres. The organization’s Advisory Board includes international representatives: diplomats, leading businessmen, heads of the international organizations, academic staff and public figures. The initiator of the organization is Itsik Moshe, the president of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business.
Izmir in Turkey is the only city in which an unusual cluster of Synagogues bearing a typical architectural style dating from the 16th century are preserved. These Synagogues built by decedents of Jews who were deported from Spain & Portugal are an historical architectural complex which is unique in the world.
The aim of the Izmir Project is to turn the compound of these ancient Synagogues into a Jewish Heritage Museum, which will tell the story of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain and arrived in the Ottoman Empire. This future museum will expose the mutual influence of Jewish and Muslim cultures and the inter cultural dialogue between them.
This hopefully restored complex of Synagogues was confirmed in Izmir city-plan, as the future Jewish Museum of Izmir, and we at the Kiriaty foundation are working closely with Izmir Municipality and the local Jewish community to realise, and promote it.
Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community is an association of seven regional/local communities and twenty other Jewish organizations active in Lithuania. The aim of LJC are to bring together all the Lithuanian Jews, to defend and look out for their interests in Lithuania and abroad, to preserve and celebrate Jewish traditions, cultural and historical heritage, to keep the memory of the Holocaust victims alive, to promote tolerance and fight anti-Semitism and to build and nurture various relations and connections with Jewish and Litvak organizations and individuals all over the world.
The association “Journées Européennes de la Culture et du Patrimoine Juifs - France” (JECPJ-France) is dedicated to promote and preserve this heritage and to disseminate information about French Jewish culture. For 15 years, JECPJ-France has contribute to the European Day of Jewish Culture in various French Regions (Alsace, Centre, Lorraine, Nord-Pas de Calais, Paris, Provence-Côte d’Azur, Sud-Ouest), welcoming each year thousands of visitors from all backgrounds and beliefs. JECPJ-France is also part of the European program developing the “Jewish Heritage Routes"
Today, there are approximately 1 300 members in the Jewish Community of Zagreb, who enjoy their full and equal rights along with support of the government. Although a small community, it remains very active. The Community has many things to offer, amongst which are: The "Mirjam Weiller" kindergarten, The "Lavoslav Schwarz" Foundation Retirement Home, a holiday resort on the Adriatic coast, The "Milan and Ivo Steiner Gallery", a library and archives, a Judaic collection (textile and metals), a Sunday school, a youth club, The "Maccabee" Sports Club, a women's club, a seniors' club, The "Or Hashemesh" Dance Group, Hebrew language courses, "Jewsers" Klezmer Ensemble, The "Miroslav Shalom Freiberger" Cultural Society, a Research and Documentary Centre, and various creative workshops.
Jewish cultural heritage route association has been established in December, 2015 by the agreement between Joniškis, Kėdainiai and Ukmergė municipalities, Museums` Association and Centre for Studies of Culture and History of East European Jews. Association seeks to: 1. to preserve and present a numerous heritage of Lithuanian Jewish culture, which is in the territories of different municipalities, while creating Jewish cultural heritage routes both on regional and national levels; 2. to encourage regional interests about Jewish culture, traditions and heritage, to promote visiting and presenting objects related to Jewish history; 3. to contribute to both national and international dissemination of unique historical, cultural and intellectual heritage of Litvaks. At this moment Association has 13 members, 8 of them are municipalities and the rest of them - public institutions and funds, working on the promotion of Jewish heritage.
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.
Red de Juderías de España (Network of Spanish Jewish Cities) is a non-profit public association created in 1999 with the goal of protecting the urban, architectural, historical, artistic and cultural Sephardic heritage in Spain. It is a cultural and tourist network that brings together 24 member town (Ávila, Barcelona, Cáceres, Calahorra, Córdoba, Estella-Lizarra, Hervás, Jaén, León, Lucena, Monforte de Lemos, Oviedo, Palma, Plasencia, Ribadavia, Segovia, Tarazona, Toledo and Tudela). Each of these towns has highlighted its ancient Jewish heritage and manages a programme of events, tours, and training.
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.
The idea of the Shtetl Routes arose from the documentary, artistic and educational work connected to the Jewish heritage of Lublin as part of the work of “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre (Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN”), Lublin-based municipal cultural institution dealing with education and cultural heritage since 1992. The Centre’s work draws on the symbolic and historical significance of the building where it is located – the Grodzka Gate, which was once a passage way between the Christian and Jewish quarters, as well on Lublin’s position as the meeting point of various cultures, traditions, and religions.
Fundatia Tarbut Sighet Culture si Educatia Iudaica was Established in 2014 following the 70th Anniversary to the Jewish May 1944 deportations. A yearly Gathering for Sighet – Maramorish Region descendants from all over the world, took place in 2014 and 2015, providing a commemoration and celebration event.
Tarbut Sighet Foundation has put forth two major missions since its establishment:
To provide information to all Maramures Jewish generations about the history of the Jews pre- and post-Holocaust. And, producing and staging cultural Jewish programs teaching about the Jewish Heritage and history of the Jews in Maramures pre- and post-Holocaust, at regional high schools, libraries, community centers, theatres and at Jewish synagogues. This will result in a better understanding of the past in order to have a better relationship with the local and the World Jewry. One of the main goals of FTS is to promote Jewish Heritage in Maramures Region (Northern Transylvania), taking place at high schools, libraries, community centers, and theatres as well as at local city halls etc.
Taube Center for Jewish Life & Learning is dedicated to enriching Jewish life in Poland and to connecting Jews from around the world with their East European heritage. Through heritage tours, educational, and cultural programs in Poland, supporting Jewish studies, publishing, the arts and media, it strengthens Polish Jewish literacy and cultivates global knowledge of a living Polish Jewish heritage drawing on its complex and historically rich legacy. The Center is partnered with organizations in Poland, Israel, Europe, and the United States.
The Together Plan is a UK charity dedicated to the rehabilitation, repair and revival of Jewish communities coming out of collective trauma in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, enabling, rather than providing, through a self-help approach.
In spite of the traumatic past, there are many who yearn to reconnect with their lost identity. It is the mission of The Together Plan charity, to help those Jews still living in the region learn how to rebuild their communities, and also to reconnect those in the diaspora to their ancestry and the homes they left behind. The Together Plan is playing a vital and much needed role in the repair and renewal process for a better connected and meaningful Jewish future for Jews everywhere.
Travel to Live is a tour operator and travel company based in Transylvania / Banat, in the city of Timisoara, one of the most vibrant centers of multiculturalism in Europe. Jewish life in this part of the world left an important impact on the economics and social fabric of the cities.
One of our important missions is to promote Jewish heritage in Transylvania to people all over the world, Jews and non-Jews alike, but also to raise the awareness locally of past and present Jewish presence. We are building and developing a network of museums, institutions, NGOs and professionals who are actively involved in revealing, promoting and preserving Jewish heritage in all important centers of Jewish life and history in Transylvania.
The UCEI is a non-profit organisation representing 21 Jewish communities in Italy, whose millennia presence in the country have contributed to enriching its cultural, artistic and social heritage. The main purpose of the UCEI is to promote the unity of the Italian Jewish community ensuring its development in religious, spiritual, cultural and social areas. UCEI represents the Jewish community before the State, the Government and other authorities, as well as the general public in all matters regarding Jewish interests. The UCEI recognises that the State of Israel plays a central role in contemporary Jewish identity, and therefore also works to strengthen relations with Israel, and represents Italian Judaism within international organisations.
Tikun is a volunteer, independent, non-governmental, and non-profit association of citizens, established in Novi Sad, Serbia, in 2018.
Members of Tikun share the goal of promoting the multicultural and multi-ethnic heritage of Vojvodina – a province in the northern part of Serbia, with emphasis on the local Jewish material heritage, history, and culture. Some of the association's fields of activity include research and documentation of the Jewish legacy in Vojvodina, protection and preservation of Jewish heritage sites and promotion of the Hebrew language and local Jewish culture and tradition.
Tikun also works on the promotion and nurturing of cultural values and diversity by organising various programmes and events. Its activities rely on donations and contributions from individuals, organisations, and foundations.
In 1874 Ferdinand de Rothschild bought the Waddesdon estate and commissioned French architect, Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, to build a country house to entertain friends and family. The project was immense; the hill-top on which the house stands was levelled, drives and terraces were cut and the grounds landscaped and planted with mature trees. Ferdinand, like other members of his family, was an avid collector. Waddesdon is renowned for its superb collections in what became known as 'the Rothschild style' – English 18th-century painting combined with French decorative arts. Today, still managed by the family on behalf of the National Trust, it is a vibrant expression of Rothschild spirit, with thriving programmes of events and activities, changing exhibitions and growing collections of contemporary art and architecture.
The World Jewish Travel, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 2011. The WJT mission is to preserve Jewish heritage worldwide and promote tourism to a variety of sites and cultural events around the world that are of great importance to the Jewish heritage continuity. WJT stand up for our heritage, giving it back its long-lost voice, in honor of past generations, and in favor of those to come. To do so, WJT have developed an integrated ecosystem, bringing together heritage, travel and technology, via an innovative, first-of-its-kind platform, reframing the concept of Jewish heritage and adjusting it to the 21st century.