Ornate shuls to open for European Days of Jewish Culture

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Ornate shuls to open for European Days of Jewish Culture

The Council of Europe said the idea behind the open day was “to combat collective forgetfulness" about European Jewish history

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Portuguese Synagogue of The Hague
Portuguese Synagogue of The Hague

Some of Europe’s most exquisite synagogues are set to open to the public on Sunday, the 20th year of the annual European Days of Jewish Culture.

Last year, more than 420 cities in 28 European countries took part in the event, a chance for people to visit buildings not always open or accessible to the public.

Among the synagogues opening their doors was the Portuguese Synagogue of The Hague. Less known than its larger and older counterpart in Amsterdam, the 18th-century Hague synagogue is more complex architecturally, featuring a glass dome that spans its two buildings.

The Beth Jehoeda Liberal Jewish Community, which uses the synagogue, hosted a concert under the glass canopy.

Visitors were able to enjoy guided tours and individual visits to place usually closed to the general public for security reasons, including synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and even Jewish hospitals.

The Council of Europe, which co-ordinates the events, said the idea behind the open day was “to combat collective forgetfulness and to dignify European Jewish heritage”.

The synagogue of Bourtange in the Dutch province of Friesland showed off a 200-year-old stained-glass window that the building received in June.

Almost all of the Jews of Frieslandwere murdered in the Holocaust. The Bourtange synagogue displayed an exhibition about Bergen-Belsen.

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