Jewish Journal

Jewish Heritage Traveling in Slovakia

by Ruth Ellen Gruber

April 16, 2013 | 3:00 am

Interior of the synagogue in Presov, Slovakia. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Over the years I have traveled to many Jewish heritage sites all over Slovakia, and I have closely followed the development of the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route -- I have posted much in the past on my Jewish Heritage Travel blog. See some of those posts HERE

In its current edition, Hadassah Magazine publishes a lengthy article I wrote detailing this route, the brainchild of tmy friend Maros Borsky.

A far-reaching project ... aims to safeguard key sites of Slovak Jewish heritage while using them as tools to integrate Jewish history and memory into local tourism, culture and education.

This is the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route (www.slovak-jewish-heritage.org), a tourist and educational trail that links two dozen key sites in all eight regions of the country—synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, but also Jewish museums and Holocaust memorials.

Formally launched in 2007, the route is the brainchild of Maros Borsky, Slovakia’s foremost Jewish scholar, who convinced communal leaders to focus scarce resources on a few significant places to ensure their long-term survival.

“The only way to preserve these buildings is to find a different use for them, predominantly and preferably for cultural purposes,” Borsky says. “And what is very important is to generate an audience for them. There is no point in putting money into restoring these buildings if no one will use them.”

 In the article, I list and profile most of the sites on the Route.

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The award-winning American writer Ruth Ellen Gruber has chronicled contemporary Jewish developments in Europe for more than two decades. As the author of National Geographic...

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