Just found out about this Jewish Culture Festival, which takes place in Timisoara, Romania next week -- May 24-27.
It is co-sponsored by the local Jewish community as well as the French Cultural Institute and features the internationally known actress Maia Morgenstern (who played Mary in the controversial Mel Gibson movie "The Passion of the Christ.")
Timisoara is a beautiful city, and its Jewish community is one of the largest of Romania's communities outside Bucharest.
Permanent Jewish settlement dates from the mid-16th century, and the oldest tombstone in the Jewish cemetery is that of a rabbi and surgeon named Azriel Asael, who died in 1636The city's three remaining synagogues include the imposing, Moorish style Citadel Synagogue, designed by the Viennese architect Carol Schuman. It was built in 1864 -- the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph attended a formal dedication ceremony in 1867 and has a monumental façade, with small side steeples and a rose window over the horseshoe-arched entry. The prolific Budapest synagogue architect Lipot Baumhorn designed the so-called Fabrik Synagogue, which was built for the Neolog community in 1899 on Coloniei street. The building was one of Baumhorn's most ornate synagogues, with fanciful domes and carving and a gorgeous interior featuring huge pipe organ beneath scalloped double arches surmounting the lavishly decorated Ark and bimah.When I last saw it, some years ago, it was abandoned and in sorry dilapidated state....