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Living Judaism in Europe

Last updated: 2003-10-03

Jewish Museum in Girona.

Jewish Museum in Girona

Last week a group of 19 people from across the UK returned from the RSGB’s Living Judaism Mediterranean Experience.  The innovative ten-day trip to Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba, Girona and Rome was facilitated by the outstanding Jewish Educator, Jeremy Leigh.  The trip was part of the Living Judaism initiative that strives for transformation and dynamism in Jewish community life. 

The story of the Golden Age was told in Cordoba and Seville.  The group went to the Maimonides Synagogue in Cordoba and read the 13 Articles of Faith, visited the gothic cathedral in Seville and the Mezquita in Cordoba and discussed relations between the Muslim and Christian majorities and the Jewish minority reflecting on the meaning of dialogue today. 

The period of the inquisition and expulsion was addressed in Girona and Barcelona.  The participants walked down to the tip of the Ramblas in Barcelona and imagined that from the piers in 1492 the remnants of a wonderful community took a final glance at the city that had been their home and the home of their families for centuries.

In Rome, the theme of exile was explored as they heard about the games of humiliation enacted against the Jews of Rome during the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.  The group also visited the wonderful Jewish Bakery eating Mezza Luna, an Italian Jewish delicacy.  The bakery is in the streets behind the Synagogue in Rome, which stands on the site of the Jewish Ghetto created in the Middle Ages and dissolved in the 19th century. 

The group did all of this and more besides as they took a wonderful, educational and entertaining visit to the sites around which Jeremy Leigh wove the narrative of the 'Mediterranean Experience' of our people in Spain and Italy, through history to the present day.

Julian Resnick, Living Judaism Co-ordinator and one of the organisers of the trip said “if we want people to participate in our communities we have to create meaningful experiences for them”.