Come celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, with a giant menorah that will be lit up in Trafalgar Square!
Qesher is an online platform that aims to connect people through meaningful learning experiences. Their goal is to create a community where individuals can come together, learn from each other, and build lasting connections. Step into a world of limitless learning opportunities with Qesher, where the belief in the power of continuous growth drives everything they do. Explore a diverse range of workshops designed to fuel personal development, refine professional skills, and spark creativity. Engage with industry experts and thought leaders through their insightful webinars, offering a front-row seat to the latest trends and developments across various fields. Tailor your learning journey to your schedule with our self-paced online courses, meticulously designed to provide in-depth knowledge on specific subjects, available for purchase at any time. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of their events, from conferences exploring emerging trends to networking sessions fostering connections and panel discussions igniting insightful conversations. Qesher is dedicated to cultivating a collaborative learning environment, recognizing the value of connections in the educational journey. Their Discussion Forums provide a platform for engaging discussions on diverse topics, while Networking Sessions offer opportunities for like-minded peers to connect. Explore growth through their Mentorship Program, connecting community members with experienced professionals in their field. Images attribution: All from:
Limmud is a unique global movement that offers innovative and inclusive Jewish learning experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds. Founded in the UK in 1980, Limmud has since spread to multiple communities around the world, hosting events on a local, national, and international level. Its mission is to enable and encourage everyone to take part in a Jewish conversation, regardless of affiliation or denomination. With over 3,000 volunteers involved every year, Limmud prides itself on being entirely volunteer-driven, with no paid staff members. This allows for a diverse range of voices and perspectives in programming, making Limmud a truly open platform for learning and discussion. One popular type of event offered by Limmud is the annual conference. These multi-day events bring together thousands of participants for a jam-packed schedule of learning sessions, performances, and social activities. Each conference features a diverse lineup of presenters, including rabbis, scholars, artists, activists, and community leaders. In addition to conferences, Limmud also organizes one-day events throughout the year. These regional gatherings offer a taste of the Limmud experience in a more condensed format. They often feature a mix of local and international presenters, covering topics ranging from Jewish history and texts to modern-day issues and challenges. For those looking for ongoing learning opportunities, Limmud also offers online courses through its e-learning platform. These courses cover a wide range of topics and are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Images attribution: All from:
The Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) stands as a distinguished research and cultural institution committed to safeguarding and advancing the legacy of German-speaking Jewry. Dedicated to meticulously documenting and facilitating access to the abundant heritage of German-speaking Jewry, LBI's mission revolves around nurturing an appreciation for this culture and its noteworthy contributions to Western civilization. Through diligent research, scholarly publications, engaging exhibitions, and thought-provoking public programs, LBI aims to foster a deeper understanding of the rich history and culture it represents. The library and archives at LBI house extensive collections comprising documents, artifacts, and artworks pertinent to German-speaking Jews, supporting academic research and serving as a precious reservoir for scholars, students, and enthusiasts. Beyond research, LBI orchestrates a diverse array of cultural events celebrating the richness of German-speaking Jewish culture, including lectures, film screenings, concerts, and exhibitions featuring the works of contemporary artists exploring themes intricately tied to this vibrant cultural tapestry. Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to enlightening the public, LBI provides comprehensive learning opportunities for individuals of all ages, including tailored educational programs for schools, workshops, and seminars. Images attribution: All from:
The Institute of Jewish Experience (IJE) is a distinguished non-profit organization committed to delivering enriching and meaningful educational experiences for individuals across diverse Jewish backgrounds. Their organization is dedicated to empowering individuals to delve into and actively engage with their Jewish identity through a comprehensive array of educational opportunities. IJE proudly stands as a beacon of inclusion, providing a space where individuals, regardless of their level of observance or background, can explore and strengthen their Jewish identity. From a myriad of educational courses covering Jewish history, culture, and philosophy to interactive workshops, seminars, and culturally rich events such as concerts and art exhibits, our offerings cater to the varied needs and interests of our community. At the heart of IJE's enduring mission is the commitment to fostering a robust sense of community among Jews of all backgrounds. They believe in providing avenues for individuals to connect with like-minded others who share their interests and values. Through carefully curated social gatherings, volunteer opportunities, and mentorship programs, IJE creates a supportive environment where individuals can connect with their heritage on their own terms. Their vision extends beyond individual exploration to the collective enrichment of a community that thrives on diversity, uniting its members through a shared commitment to personal growth and a deep appreciation for the richness of Jewish heritage. Images attribution: All from:
The Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is a leading institution dedicated to preserving, educating, and documenting the history of the Holocaust. Located in New York City, the museum aims to honor those who suffered and lost their lives during one of the most horrific events in human history. The purpose of the Museum of Jewish Heritage is to educate visitors about the history and lessons of the Holocaust, while also promoting tolerance and understanding among all people. Through its exhibitions, programs, and events, the museum strives to raise awareness about the dangers of hatred and bigotry to prevent future atrocities. The museum offers a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions that provide an immersive experience of Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. These exhibitions include artifacts, personal testimonies, and interactive elements that help visitors understand the impact of this tragic event on individuals, families, and communities. In addition to its exhibitions, the museum also offers a diverse range of educational programs for people of all ages. These programs include lectures, workshops, film screenings, and guided tours that provide further insight into the history and significance of the Holocaust. The Museum of Jewish Heritage hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including special exhibitions, performances, and commemorations. These events bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds to honor the victims of the Holocaust and promote unity and understanding in our society today. Images attribution: All from:
My Jewish Learning is a website that offers a wide range of resources and events for individuals interested in Judaism and Jewish culture. Their goal is to provide accessible and inclusive learning opportunities for people from all backgrounds, whether you are just beginning to explore Judaism or have been practicing for years. Their website features articles, videos, podcasts, and other multimedia content on a range of topics related to Judaism and Jewish culture. They also offer online courses available for those looking for a more structured learning experience. In addition to their online resources, they also host a variety of events throughout the year. These include webinars, workshops, and conferences that cover a diverse range of topics and perspectives within Judaism. Images attribution: All from:
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is a non-profit organization that has been committed to building a strong, vibrant, and environmentally friendly Israel for over 119 years. One of their main initiatives is the creation of Ask Herzl, They are dedicated to providing high-quality educational materials that will enrich your knowledge and understanding of Israel. Their goal is to promote Israeli education in a fun, interactive, and informative way. Ask Herzl offers a wide range of learning opportunities and events that cater to different age groups and interests. Whether you are a student, teacher, or simply someone who wants to learn more about Israel, they have something for everyone. Their materials cover various topics such as history, geography, culture, politics, and much more. With engaging activities and thought-provoking discussions, they aim to spark interest and encourage critical thinking about Israel. Not only do they focus on learning about Israel, but they also promote advocacy and activism. They believe in empowering individuals to advocate for Israel through education and knowledge. Importantly, all of these resources are accessible from the comfort of your home or classroom, as they are downloadable materials available on the JNF website. Images attribution: All from:
The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies is a leading academic institution dedicated to the study and research of Judaism, with its main campus located in Jerusalem, Israel. The mission of Schechter is to promote an understanding and appreciation of Judaism through academic excellence, intellectual rigor, and a commitment to diversity. In line with this mission, the institute offers a wide range of educational opportunities for individuals seeking to deepen their knowledge and connection with Jewish heritage. At Schechter, students can choose from a variety of learning programs tailored to their interests and backgrounds. These include undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as non-degree programs such as summer courses, seminars, and workshops. The institute also offers online learning options for those unable to attend classes in person. In addition to its regular academic programs, Schechter hosts a variety of events throughout the year that are open to the public. These include lectures, conferences, and cultural events featuring speakers and presenters from all over the world. The institute also holds weekly prayer services in its egalitarian chapel, providing a space for spiritual growth and connection. Images attribution: All from:
Visit the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem, a beacon of Jewish resilience, faith, and culture. Originally built in the 18th century, it has stood the test of time, surviving destruction and rebirth. From witnessing the rare visit of an Ottoman Sultan to serving as a refuge during times of conflict, the synagogue's history is as rich and fascinating as the architectural beauty it boasts today, thanks to its latest reconstruction in 2010. Experience the Present and Envision the Future Today, the Hurva Synagogue is more than just a religious site; it is a testament to the enduring spirit of the Jewish community. It offers daily prayer services, houses special events, and hosts an annual memorial service for fallen Israeli soldiers on Yom HaZikaron. As you explore its intricate details and stunning interior, you will immerse yourself in a journey through Jewish history, culture, and tradition. The Hurva Synagogue is not just a stop on your itinerary, but a doorway into the vibrant world of Judaism in Jerusalem, and a destination that will leave a lasting impact on every visitor. Images attribution: All from: <https://travelrova.co.il/language/en/the-hurva-synagogue/>
Discover the remarkable Western Wall Tunnels in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. As an integral part of Jewish cultural heritage, the site offers visitors an unparalleled journey back in time. These well-preserved tunnels, adjacent to the Western Wall, bear testimony to the architectural brilliance of ancient builders, and their discovery has facilitated a deeper connection to Jewish history. Explore notable areas including Warren’s Gate, the closest accessible point for Jews to the Holy of Holies, and the Little Western Wall, a tranquil and less frequented part of the wall. The Western Wall Tunnels resonate with the echoes of Jewish heritage, providing a tangible link to the past. A Journey Through Time Immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of history and tradition as you traverse the Western Wall Tunnels. Unearth stories of Jewish rebels' courage during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE and experiences wrapped in the mystique of Kabbalistic traditions. The tunnels serve as a solemn reminder of the destruction of the Second Temple, representing a pivotal event in Jewish history eternally memorialized in stone. As you navigate the passageways, each layer of their ancient history is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the Jewish people. The Western Wall Tunnels await your discovery. Images attribution: All from : <https://english.thekotel.org/gallery/>
Introduction to Jewish Budapest [caption id="attachment_52145" align="alignnone" width="914"] City of Budapest- Photo by Jorge Franganillo from Barcelona, Spain, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Budapest, the vibrant capital of Hungary, is home to a range of fascinating cultural heritage sites associated with its important Jewish history. As one of Europe’s greatest cities, Jewish Budapest preserves a remarkable record of Jewish life over several centuries: from the prosperous medieval communities that lived here during the Middle Ages to their modern-day counterparts. The Hungarian Jewish community was one of the largest in Europe prior to World War II; however, unfortunate events during the Holocaust decimated its numbers and drastically changed the shape of Jewish life in Budapest. Despite this, Hungary remains an important center for Jewish culture, and visitors can find plenty of sites related to its past and present significance. From ancient synagogues and cemeteries to modern memorials, Hungary’s Jewish history is always present in Budapest. Jewish Culture and History in Budapest Early Jewish Life in Budapest Jewish presence in Budapest dates back to the Roman times, but the Jewish community as we know it today began to form during the Middle Ages. The Jews settled in Buda and Pest, which eventually merged to become Budapest in the 19th century. Life for early Jews in Budapest was marked by a blend of rich cultural traditions and occasional challenges. They established synagogues, schools, and vibrant neighborhoods, contributing significantly to the city's diverse cultural fabric. However, discrimination and periodic persecution were not uncommon, especially during times of political upheaval. Despite these difficulties, the Jewish Budapest community persisted and thrived over the centuries, producing notable scholars, artists, and entrepreneurs. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw a period of increased integration and prominence for Budapest's Jewish population, until the dark days of World War II, when the Holocaust tragically decimated their numbers. Nevertheless, the resilient Jewish community continues to play a vital role in the cultural and social life of Budapest to this day. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jews in Budapest had a wide range of occupations, from craftsmen and merchants to scholars and scientists. They were an integral part of the city’s social fabric and made significant contributions to its political, economic, and cultural life. Jews played important roles in business as well as medicine, education, literature, music, and the arts. As entrepreneurs, scholars, and professionals they were highly respected in society and made a lasting impact on Budapest’s development. Recent and Contemporary Jewish Life in Budapest Before World War II, Budapest was home to around 200,000 Jews and served as the hub of Hungarian Jewish culture. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, it became a refuge for Jewish refugees, including those from Germany, Austria, and Slovakia. Despite Hungary's alliance with Nazi Germany, the Jewish community in Budapest felt relatively secure until the German occupation in March 1944. The occupation led to severe restrictions on Jewish life, confiscation of Jewish homes, and internment in transit camps. Between April and July 1944, Jews from Hungarian provinces were deported, leaving Budapest as the last major Jewish population in Hungary. In June 1944, Hungarian authorities ordered Jews into marked buildings throughout the city, sparing them temporarily from deportation. Raoul Wallenberg and other diplomats aided Jews with false papers and safe houses. In October 1944, the Arrow Cross party's coup put Budapest's Jews in peril again, resulting in a reign of terror, forced labor, and a devastating death march. The Arrow Cross then confined the remaining Jews in Budapest to a closed ghetto, where thousands were executed along the Danube. Soviet forces liberated Budapest in February 1945, with over 100,000 Jews still in the city at that time. The life of Jews living in Budapest, Hungary today is characterized by a diverse range of experiences. Budapest has a small but vibrant Jewish community that actively participates in cultural, religious, and social activities. While anti-Semitism has not been eradicated entirely, Hungary has made efforts to combat it, and Jews in Budapest continue to enjoy the freedom to practice their faith and celebrate their cultural heritage. The city is home to several synagogues, including the magnificent Dohany Street Synagogue, which is one of the largest in Europe. Additionally, Budapest hosts Jewish cultural festivals, events, and museums that showcase the rich history and contributions of the Jewish community. Like other urban centers, the daily life of Jews in Budapest is shaped by the broader societal context, but they contribute to the city's cultural mosaic and maintain a resilient and vibrant presence in the Hungarian capital. Iconic Attractions and Events in Budapest The Jewish Quarter in Budapest The Jewish Quarter in Budapest, often referred to as the "Jewish Quarter District" or "Erzsébetváros," is a historically significant and culturally rich neighborhood located in the heart of the city. This district bears witness to Hungary's Jewish heritage and is home to a thriving Jewish community. One of its most iconic landmarks is the Dohany Street Synagogue, a magnificent and historically significant place of worship. The Jewish Quarter is renowned for its bustling atmosphere, with lively streets, eclectic cafes, and vibrant street art that gives it a unique character. Visitors and residents alike can explore Jewish heritage sites, including museums and memorials, that tell the story of Jewish Budapest's history and its resilience in the face of adversity, particularly during World War II. Today, the Jewish Quarter continues to be a hub of cultural and religious activities, as well as a center for celebrating Jewish traditions, making it a significant and dynamic part of Budapest's identity. The Dohany Street Synagogue [caption id="attachment_52146" align="alignnone" width="915"] Dohany Steet Synagogue- Photo by Alexey Elfimov, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] The Dohany Street Synagogue, located in Budapest's Jewish Quarter, is a magnificent and historically significant landmark often referred to as the "Great Synagogue" or "Tabakgasse Synagogue." Built in the mid-19th century, it is one of the largest synagogues in Europe and a prominent symbol of Hungary's Jewish heritage. This architectural masterpiece combines various styles, including Moorish and Byzantine elements, creating a stunning and unique design. The synagogue also houses the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, which provides valuable insights into the history and culture of Hungarian Jewry. Tragically, during World War II, the synagogue served as a temporary shelter for Jewish families targeted by the Holocaust. Today, the Dohany Street Synagogue stands as a symbol of resilience and a place of worship, cultural events, and remembrance, attracting visitors from around the world who come to appreciate its grandeur and pay tribute to Hungary's Jewish community. Shoes on the Danube Bank [caption id="attachment_52147" align="alignnone" width="913"] Shoes on the Danube Bank- Photo by kallerna, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial to the victims of fascism in Budapest. Located along the banks of the Danube, it is composed of 60 pairs of iron shoes that represent individuals who were ordered to remove their shoes before they were shot by Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. This poignant and powerful memorial serves as a reminder of Hungary's dark history and honors the victims of fascism whose lives were taken in Budapest. It is a somber yet beautiful tribute to those who suffered, and has become an iconic landmark in Budapest. The memorial also serves as a reminder that such incomprehensible acts of violence must never be repeated. To this day, Shoes on the Danube Bank continues to be a place of reflection, mourning and remembrance for all those who perished in Budapest during the Holocaust. Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives [caption id="attachment_52148" align="alignleft" width="2048"] Hungarian Jewish Museum permanent exhibition- Photo by Doron Photography, Komáromi Annamari assistant[/caption] The Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, nestled in the heart of Budapest's Historical Jewish Quarter and housed within the Dohany Street Synagogue complex, is a vital institution that holds a rich tapestry of Hungarian Jewish heritage. Established with the goal of celebrating the historic significance of the Jewish faith in Hungary, the museum has undergone transformations over the years. Today, it stands as a testament to resilience and cultural preservation. This museum showcases a diverse collection of Judaica, artifacts, and archives, notably housing one of Europe's most extensive Jewish community archives. Among its treasures are an exquisite 1602 copper Rimonim, showcasing Ottoman-Turkish craftsmanship, and a centuries-old gravestone from the Roman Empire era, serving as a poignant reminder of Hungary's enduring Jewish legacy. Beyond preserving history, the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives actively engages visitors and researchers, offering a window into the rich and vibrant tapestry of Hungarian Jewish culture and history. Popular Budapest Jewish Cultural Festival The Jewish Cultural Festival is centered around the largest synagogue in Europe, situated in a city with a profound European Jewish heritage. Throughout the entire week, attendees have the opportunity to savor a variety of Jewish music performances, encompassing klezmer, string quartets, fusion jazz, cabaret, and pipe organ music. These musical events take place at the Great Synagogue on Dohány Street, the second-largest synagogue globally, as well as at the Rumbach Street Synagogue. Alternatively, one can occupy the seats once frequented by their ancestors at the historic Goldmark Hall, which served as the epicenter of Jewish cultural life both before and after World War II. Remarkably, during the war itself, the hall was consistently filled every night, as it remained the sole venue where Jews were allowed to enjoy opera and theater performances. Iconic Personalities of Budapest Theodor Herzl [caption id="attachment_52149" align="alignnone" width="512"] Theodor Herzi- Photo by unknown derivative work: Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Theodor Herzl was born in Jewish Budapest, Hungary in 1860 and was a vital figure in the establishment of modern political Zionism. He was a journalist and playwright who wrote Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), setting out his vision for a safe homeland for Jews around the world. His 1896 Zion Congress held in Basel, Switzerland marked the start of organized Jewish nationalism. Herzl died in 1904 in Edlach, Austria, and was buried at the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. His life and legacy continue to be celebrated today as an example of dedication to a cause and a leader for Jews around the world. He is seen as having laid the foundation for the creation of Israel and his vision of a Jewish homeland remains an inspiration to many. Vilmos Vázsonyi [caption id="attachment_52150" align="alignnone" width="516"] Vilmos Vázsonyi- Photo by Mór Erdélyi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Vilmos Vázsonyi was born in Jewish Budapest, Hungary in 1908 and is known as one of the most influential figures of Hungarian Jewish life. He served as President of the Union of Jewish Congregations from 1954 to 1988. During his tenure, he played a major role in rebuilding and revitalizing Jewish institutions throughout Hungary. He also became a leader in interfaith dialogue, helping to foster understanding and cooperation between different faiths. Vázsonyi died in 1999 in Budapest and was buried at the Kerepesi Cemetery. His legacy is remembered as a champion of Jewish life in Hungary who dedicated his life to rebuilding Jewish culture within the country. Summary of Budapest’s Jewish Story The story of Jewish Budapest is one that spans over centuries. From the iconic Dohany Street Synagogue to the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, it is clear that this city was an integral part of Europe's Jewish cultural heritage before and during World War II. The history of Jewish Budapest is celebrated today through ongoing cultural events such as the popular Jewish Summer Festival, showcasing the many facets of Hungary's Jewish identity. Furthermore, prominent figures such as Theodor Herzl and Vilmos Vázsonyi are celebrated for their contributions to the cause of a safe homeland for Jews around the world. Jewish Budapest remains a testament to resilience and cultural preservation in times of sorrow and hardship, providing visitors with an opportunity to pay tribute to its Jewish community and to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the city. As such, it is no surprise that Jewish Budapest is affectionately known as the 'Heartbeat of Jewish Hungary'. Enduringly captivating, Budapest is a place where history, culture, and resilience come together in a truly unique way. It is an experience not to be missed!
Israel on the River, Strelecky Island The Israel on the River event is a vibrant cultural festival that takes place annually in Prague along the banks of the Vltava River. Celebrating Israeli heritage and culture, this event is a splendid blend of music, art, traditional food, and engaging activities. The festival aims to promote cultural exchange and appreciation, fostering a sense of unity and mutual respect among diverse communities. Israel on the River provides a platform for individuals interested in learning about and experiencing the rich culture and traditions of Israel, making it a must-visit event for those seeking cultural immersion. Join Prague's Jewish community in celebrating Israeli cuisine and culture by the Vltava River on Strelecky Island! Entry is free and dogs are welcome. For more information and the full program, visit the event's official site.
Jewish Book Week is an annual international literary festival, held in London. Every year, the festival brings together writers and speakers – from the most eminent to the first-time published – from the worlds of history, journalism, philosophy, science, art, music, poetry and fiction in a celebration of ideas. The festival features Jewish themes and writers, as well as discussions on the most important issues of the day, and is open to everyone. Over eighty events are presented during the festival itself. A number of special events are also organised over the course of the year, outside the festival period. Jewish Book Week is organised by the Jewish Book Council, a registered UK charity.
Limmud Festival is a pioneering festival of Jewish learning. It’s a place for community, learning, discovery, empowerment, diversity, debate, laughing, dancing, families, volunteering. Limmud Festival is a place for you to discover something new. Limmud is thrilled to have been able to bring people together again as a community of learning, despite the ongoing pandemic, for a programme of over 300 diverse, inspiring and thought-provoking sessions. The core team of 16 dedicated volunteers led the way in creating Festival 2021 alongside the efforts of 1 in 4 participants who contributed their time, to provide the Limmud community with another fantastic event for participants of all ages. The five-day event (including programming before and after Shabbat) saw sessions from 367 presenters on subjects from the topical – such as current political issues and impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the community, to the niche – such as shmita laws for Jews in the Diaspora and the Jolles Encyclopaedia of British Jewish cantors, chazanim, ministers and synagogue musicians. The event welcomed political speakers David Lammy MP, Councillor Carla Denyner, and former MK Aliza Lavie, alongside performers including Chava Mirel, Joanie Leeds and The Macaroons. In addition, the programme featured 27 sessions from European Limmud volunteers spotlighting 15 different communities.