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Mantua shows the renewal and extension of an existing city, while 30 km away, Sabbioneta represents the implementation of the period’s theories about planning the ideal city. Typically, Mantua’s layout is irregular with regular parts showing different stages of its growth since the Roman period and includes many medieval edifices among them an 11th century rotunda and a Baroque theatre. Sabbioneta, created in the second half of the 16th century under the rule of one person, Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna, can be described as a single-period city and has a right angle grid layout. Both cities offer exceptional testimonies to the urban, architectural and artistic realizations of the Renaissance, linked through the visions and actions of the ruling Gonzaga family.Jews lived in Sabbioneta from the town's early days -- even before it was laid out in its present form. There was a ghetto here, and the town developed into an important center of Hebrew printing. The Sabbioneta synagogue dates from 1824 -- its present form is an enlargement and rebuilding of an earlier structure by a noted Lombard architect named Carlo Visioli.
Sabbioneta represents the construction of an entirely new town according to the modern, functional vision of the Renaissance. The defensive walls, grid pattern of streets, role of public spaces and monuments all make Sabbioneta one of the best examples of ideal cities built in Europe, with an influence over urbanism and architecture in and outside the continent. The properties represent two significant stages of territorial planning and urban interventions undertaken by the Gonzagas in their domains.
Vienna's Jewish community called the government's 20 million euros (29 million dollars) a "late Hanukkah gift." "Nearly nine years after the signing of the Washington Agreement, the last issue that was still open in terms of international law is settled," the community said in a statement. Under the new funding agreement reached late on Monday, Jewish communities are to raise an additional 20 million euros, while the city of Vienna and the province of Lower Austria also pledged contributions.Read full DPA story
The interview highlights Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European issues that are critically examined in her book Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture and her recent essay featured in the Jewish Quarterly Review, “Beyond Virtually Jewish: New Authenticitiy and Real Imaginary Spaces in Europe”. Ruth Ellen Gruber shares insights on the state of Klezmer in Europe with music this week from Itzhak Perlman and the Klezmatics (“Dybbuk Shers”), Brave Old World (“Berlin 1990″) and Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird (“Broken Tongue”). Tune in!
I realize that the Swiss voters who overwhelmingly approved the minaret ban were responding to scare tactics that raised the specter of an extremist Islamic takeover in their country.In the story I quote Sam.
Yet in a certain way, the Swiss vote Nov. 29 and the Lithuanian seminar were connected.
To me, the ban on minarets recalled centuries of restrictions on the size or prominence of synagogues. The Swiss ban is just the latest example of how governmental authorities target religious architecture as a means of limiting religious or cultural expression.
"Beginning in the fourth century and continuing through the Middle Ages, and again in the 20th century, the 'legal' restriction and destruction of synagogues quickly led to the same policies applied against individuals, and then whole communities.
"Restricting specific types of religious or cultural expression -- especially when such restrictions are deliberate exceptions to existing building, zoning, health and safety codes -- is discriminatory."
It is, he said, "an act of denigration of cultural custom and, by extension, of the people who cherish, or the religion that requires, those very customs."
Before World War II, about 100,000 Jews lived here. The Great Synagogue, standing in the heart of what is today's postcard-perfect Old Town, was the most magnificent of more than 100 synagogues and prayer houses in the city. The Vilnius Old Town today is on UNESCO's roster of World Heritage Sites, but almost no physical traces of its Jewish past remain. There are a few street names, wall inscriptions and plaques, but that's it.
The project Jewish History in Galicia and Bukovina is designed to preserve the once vivid world of Galician and Bukovinian Jewry. Our goal is to save historical documents and vestiges of Jewish material culture in Galicia and Bukovina before these historical records and objects disappear. We intend to make them available to the wider public as well as to the growing community of researchers worldwide through this website..The site includes search options, interactive databases and other aides. It looks great!
The project begins with the region of southern Galicia, which was known as the Stanislawów Voivodship (województwo stanisławowskie) in interwar Poland and is known as the Ivano-Frankivsk Region (Ivano-Frankivs'ka oblast') in today's Ukraine. In this region, primary attention is paid to four communities around Ivano-Frankivsk (Stanislawów): Bohorodczany (Brotchin, Bohorodchany), Lysiec (Lysets', Łysiec), Nadworna (Nadvirna, Nadwórna) and Solotwin (Solotvyn, Sołotwina).
The core of the project Jewish History in Galicia and Bukovina is an electronic database of primary materials pertaining to Galician and Bukovinian Jewry. Ultimately, the database will include: archival documents, newspapers articles, oral history testimonies, and documentation of Jewish cemeteries and communal buildings. The database also includes information regarding Jewish communities, Jewish communal organizations and the lives of individual Jews in the region. The project's website also includes part of the archival catalogue of the Central Archives for the History of Jewish People in Jerusalem (CAHJP).
The project Jewish History in Galicia and Bukovina was initiated by a generous donation from a private foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. The project is conducted under the auspices of the Leonid Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in cooperation with The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. Other organizations, such as the Sefer Center in Moscow and the Center for Jewish Art in Jerusalem also take part in the project.
The present building is halfway underground, probably built like this to conform to regulations that forbade synagogues from being higher than surrounding Christian buildings. The sanctuary is entered down stairs leading from a little outer prayer room, where regular services are held. Chandeliers hang from the ribbed wooden dome arching over the dull, browny-green walls decorated by pale stenciled flowers. Carved and gilded lions, griffins, bunches of grapes and other decorations ornament the compact but elaborate Aron ha Kodesh, built in 1835 by one Saraga Yitzhak ben Moshe.Sam Gruber has posted further information and comment on his blog.
Called “Quarter6Quarter7,” the festival, which starts Friday and is the first of its kind, features some 130 events in more than 30 different venues in and around the city’s Seventh District, central Budapest’s first and most important Jewish neighborhood.Read Full Story
“It's a Hanukkah festival, but it’s not just a Jewish event; it’s a festival of the Quarter, of everyone who lives here and visits here,” said Adam Schonberger, one of the organizers. “Living culture is the key, and the district itself becomes a house of culture, where it all is going on.”
The Bente Kahan Foundation, supported by the Municipality of Wroclaw and the Association of the Jewish Religious Communities in Poland has a clear vision of future functions of the synagogue. The Center for Jewish Culture and Education will strengthen the role of the temple as one of the most attractive spiritual centres in the country by opening its doors for concerts, shows, theatre, workshops, films, lectures seminaries and so on. This living Jewish heart in the centre of Europe will beat even stronger!
The creation of the modern Jewish Museum in Wroclaw (2012) will definitely help to reach that goal. The Museum will be located in the basement and on the balconies of the synagogue floors. The Staircases and the separate entry will enable free communication with the building without disturbing the sacral and cultural space of the temple. By using of modern 3D and holographic techniques, the museum will show the rich and unique world of the Silesian Jews and their thousand-years-old history. It will also be a place for exhibitions, lectures and workshops. The museum will become no just another tourist attraction but also an important link in the educational proces, especially in the context of young people.Kahan has set up web site dedicated to the synagogue and its restoration (only in Polish).