European Day of Jewish Culture marked with events

(JTA) – Italian President Giorgio Napolitano participated in ceremonies in Naples launching Italian observances of the annual European Day of Jewish Culture.

The pan-Europe event, now in its 14th year, took place Sunday in two dozen countries around Europe.

The European Day of Jewish Culture, or EDJC,  is loosely coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, a body formed by B’nai B’rith Europe, the Red de Juderias de Espana-Caminos de Sefarad, and the European Council of Jewish Communities.

Each year a common theme links EDJC activities, which include concerts, lectures, performances, food-tastings, visits to Jewish heritage sites, and book fairs. This year’s theme was “Jewish Heritage and Nature.”

Events were staged in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Italy had an extensive program, with activities in some 70 towns and cities throughout  the country. Other countries, such as Poland, had one or two events on the Culture Day program.

Usually Culture Day takes place the first Sunday of September, but this year it was moved to Sept. 29 because of the timing of the High Holidays.