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Lorca defends his entry into the Network of Spanish Jewish Quarters as a platform for international dissemination of Jewish heritage, with the Synagogue as the most outstanding reference (09/01/2019)

Fulgencio Gil: "the discovery of the Jewish remains is a cultural, social and tourist opportunity for Lorca because of the special value of the synagogue and its Jewish quarter, which is why we are striving to promote and understand the Jewish culture of our city "

The Mayor of Lorca, Fulgencio Gil, presented this morning officially the candidacy of our city to join the Network of Jewish Quarters, an act that has taken place in Madrid, and in which the First Edil has stressed that Lorca maintains a institutional commitment as a city for the diffusion of this culture, and of the discovered heritage.

We want Lorca to be part of this institution to add our momentum to this prestigious network and share the legacy inherited by the cultures and civilizations that inhabited this land, and we want to do it working hand in hand with the best destinations: those that make up the Network of Jewish Quarters "Roads of Sefarad".

The Mayor has indicated that entering the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain "Caminos de Sefarad" would be an extraordinary news for all Lorca, put that we speak of a model organization, a space for culture and tourism from the respect, from work collective for a greater good, from the dialogue between different populations that share a legacy and the desire to make it known.

We want to be part of the prestigious Network of Spanish Jewish Quarters to multiply the dissemination of the vestiges of Jewish culture in Lorca that are unique, especially the medieval Synagogue, which is the only one not desecrated in Spain.

Fulgencio Gil has said that Lorca, thanks to its extensive historical roots that go back 5,500 years ago, constitutes an important archaeological site.

In fact, we are one of the oldest cities in southern Europe.

We are proud of our past and of the Jewish trace, whose legacy we wanted to honor by making him known and proposing an approach to this culture.

Since the discovery of the synagogue and the Jewish quarter occurred Lorca have developed a very large battery of actions to enhance this legacy, learn more about our Jewish past and promote it at all levels.

The starting point was the year 2006 with the celebration of a conference on Jewish-Sephardic culture as well as an exhibition about the Jewish presence in Late Medieval Lorca, with the participation of the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain and the Director of the American Sephardi Federation of New York.

In 2009 we organized the ambitious exhibition "Lights of Sepharad" in which, through the remains of the Janukiki, ritual lamps, and other decorative elements found in the excavations, we promoted our Jewish legacy in different towns.

On the occasion of this exhibition, the director of the Jewish Heritage Research Center and professor at the University of Syracuse in New York, Samuel Gruber, the Director of the Marco Polo System in Venice, Pietrangelo Petterno, the professor of Master in Jewish Art from the Jewish Theological University of New York, Vivian Mann, or the Secretary General of Casa Sefarad Israel in Madrid, Ángel Vázquez Díaz.

The exhibition "Luces de Sefarad" has been present in Lorca, Murcia, Cartagena and the Sefarad Israel Center in Madrid.

As part of the identification campaign, in September 2009 Lorca participated for the first time as a collaborating city in the European Day of Jewish Culture, invited by the Network of Spanish Jewish Quarters.

In 2010 we took another step with the cycle of conferences "Jewish culture in Lorca", organized by "Lorca, Workshop of Time" and composed of 5 papers on archeology, economy or tourism in the Jewish world.

We also visited the Old City of Jerusalem and established interesting contacts with Israeli political and religious representatives.

A few months later we received in Lorca the councilor director of tourism and the manager of the Old City of Jerusalem who wanted to know personally the Lorca Jewish quarter.

In July 2012, the Synagogue was inaugurated after its spectacular development, with open days to accommodate the many visitors interested in getting to know it.

And in December, more than half a millennium later, the Synagogue again welcomed the Hanukkah festival, a tradition that would be established and that we have celebrated every year since.

A great success for the promotion of the Jewish legacy has been the exhibition "Traces of the Jewish culture in Lorca" that has received more than 100,000 visits in cities with a long Jewish tradition such as Toledo, Córdoba, Ávila and Lucena, where it has been exhibited, like also next to the own lorquina synagogue.

It is worth highlighting a moment of special emotion as it was in May 2013 when the Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Moshe Amar, visited the remains of the Synagogue and pronounced the first prayers in almost 6 centuries, with which he asked that it be converted. instead of a pilgrimage to world Jewish culture.

That same summer we began to celebrate the Jewish Lorca, a Festival of Contemporary Culture that every summer offers music and other scenic disciplines of marked Jewish character.

The importance of the pieces exhumed in the Jewish quarter of Lorca has meant that several of them have been requested to participate in important temporary exhibitions.

Some examples are:

"Bibles of Sefarad", organized by the National Library of Spain, in collaboration with the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the CSIC in 2012 in the Hypostyle Room of the National Library.

"Lorca, Lights of Sepharad".

Traveling exhibition organized by the General Directorate of Culture and the Archaeological Museum of Lorca where an important selection of some 100 archaeological pieces found in the Jewish quarter of Lorca was shown, as well as documents from various archives in the cities of Murcia, Cartagena, Lorca and Madrid .

"The Power of the Past".

Temporary exhibition held at the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid in 2018, where two glass lamps found in the Lorca synagogue representing the Spanish Jewish culture were exhibited.

The importance of these pieces meant that they were selected among the most outstanding of Spanish archeology of the last 150 years.

A glass lamp and a plaster of the synagogue of Lorca are shown in the Sephardic Museum of Toledo representing the Lorca Jewish quarter along with other pieces from other Spanish Jewish quarters.

The temporary exhibition "Sacred Art of the Archaeological Museum of Lorca", which is currently shown in the temporary room of the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Lorca, exposes several Jewish pieces of the collection of Felix Berdugo Bendahan.

Once the temporary exhibition ends on April 30, 2019 the pieces will be exhibited permanently in room 12 of the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Lorca.

Lorca has to continue promoting his Jewish heritage, with special emphasis on the documents kept in the Municipal Archive, the pieces exhibited in the Archaeological Museum, as the arch that covered the sacred cupboard where the Sefer Torah was kept, the 20 pieces of oil lamps ceramic or the 27 glass lamps that illuminated the synagogue.

The presentation of Lorca, led by the Mayor, has included more detailed technical explanations about the Jewish legacy of the municipality that have been run by the Director of the Archaeological Museum, Andrés Martínez.

The final decision on the incorporation of Lorca to this Network will be known in the coming weeks.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Lorca

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