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20th Anniversary European Day of Jewish Culture

Report by Felipe Lopez of his trip (Sep 2019) to Eppingen, Germany for the 20th Anniversary European Day of Jewish Culture

Twenty years ago, the European Day of Jewish Culture was born to combat collective forgetfulness and to dignify European Jewish heritage. This year celebrating its 20th anniversary, the fundamental objective of this European-wide event is to highlight the diversity and richness of Judaism, 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.

This year's 20th edition is particularly important due to the rise of the extreme right in Europe. In reaction to this rise of anti-Semitism, the EDJC acts as a strong defender of diversity and coexistence. The promotion of Jewish cultural heritage is an integral part of European history, and it is as a key factor in the prevention of anti-Semitic stereotypes and prejudices taking root, thus increasing resilience against intolerance.

According to reports, last year more than 420 cities from 28 European countries joined the European Day of Jewish Culture, with the participation of more than 180,000 people. The commemoration date is always the first Sunday of September.

The Jerusalem Duo - Hila Ofek (Harpist) und Andre Tsirlin (Saxophone)
We decided to go to the town of Eppingen, closer to our home to see the performance of an Israeli duet, called the JERUSALEM DUO, who gave a great concert. The JERUSALEM DUO see themselves as a new voice in the world of classical chamber music because their two special musical instruments united, one of the oldest with one of the youngest, harp and saxophone opens up a previously never heard, musical sound experience. Accompanied by knowledgeable and entertaining moderation, Hila Ofek and André Tsirlin took the audience on a musical journey that combined classical music, Klezmer, Yiddish songs, tango, pop and many other genres of world music without any reservations. Thus, their music becomes the universal language of the soul that understands the world, a form of expression that opens up directly to every listener.

Harpist Hila Ofek, granddaughter of Giora Feidman (Argentine-born Israeli clarinetist who specializes in Klezmer music), and her husband Andre Tsirlin studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance. Today they perform as soloists and as duo throughout Europe, Israel and Russia. They are the winners of the 6th International Israel Music Competition in London and the 3rd International Terem Crossover Competition in St-Petersburg.

It was just fabulous to see them and listen to their music. These modified instruments made great sounds that is difficult to describe – sometimes one would think the piano was playing, other that a clarinet was playing. Andre Tsirlin described it much better during one of his short talks – “it is not about what we play (meaning the songs), but rather how we make the instruments play the song”.

It was an incredible performance by the two of them for over 200 attendees to the concert.

The Jewish Cemetery in Eppingen
The next morning, on Sunday, the 1 st of September, the public had access and were guided throughout this ancient Jewish cemetery where they were able to visit and observe the diverse tombs, and then to other key buildings of Jewish heritage in Eppingen (Jewish presence since the 14 th Century). This is something that will be remembered by us, and we plan to attend the events next year at another location to expand on our experiences.

Old Synagogue Eppingen

The former Jewish school in Eppingen

Mikwe Jordanbad Eppingen


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Temporarily Suspended until further notice

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times

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