Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona/ Jewish Book Festival

I am Victor Sorenssen, and I am 32 years. I have lived in Barcelona all my life,. I studied Political Science and Semitic Philology. From six months ago I am the director of the Jewish Community of Barcelona. Also I’m the founder of the Jewish platform Mozaika (
Location: Barcelona , Spain
Year founded: 1917


I am confident that this grant opportunity can cause a great impact in multiple ways. The Jewish Book Festival may seem like a relatively easy proposition, even not very unique. But only at first glance. With this project there is an opportunity, and I think it should not be missed. I’ll try to develop it with o without assitance, the difference will be that with some aid, the impact may be very relevant.

Judaism in Barcelona is being discovered now. Barcelona has a long medieval history and almost 100 years of history (since 1917) until today. In recent years, both Jews and non-Jews are becoming interested in the Jewish historical and contemporary heritage of the city. Proof of this is the proliferation of books that have been published on the subject or the exhibits in the museum of the city that have been recently made. On the other hand, the Jewish community of Barcelona has been nurtured by Jews from all sides, many of them exiled from their countries during the Second World War, the independence of Morocco, the Latin American dictatorships... This fact, the exile, plus the dictatorship of General Franco for more than 30 years, caused that the profile of the Jewish community has been very discreet. Now it's different, there is a new generation of Jews born in the city, looking to explore their jewish identity without complexes, without fear of rejection. But this change will have to manage it, because Barcelona despite being an open and cosmopolitan city, unlike other European countries with highest Jewish population, there is a lot of ignorance about what it means to be Jew and Judaism in general. The Jewish experience. But there is interest in finding out. The Jewish Book Festival is a window through which we can disseminate Judaism, make it known, attracting Jewish people in the city who can not find a framework of participation through culture nowadays. In parallel, we’l, have the opportunity of establishing a network of authors, historians, critics and Hebraists around this event.

The Festival will take place in a public, open and free space. I have already presented the idea to the following institutions, and all are interested in participating as partners: the Jewish Community of Madrid, the Jewish school in Barcelona, the district office of the town hall, the department of Arabic and Hebrew of the University of Barcelona. The University will present the students work and publications of professors; The Community of Madrid, more authors and also present  their Jewish culture magazine, Roots; The Jewish school, through teachers and children will be in charge of youth activities. From the community, we will take care of logistics, programming and diffusion.The idea is that the Jewish Book Festival can embrace several spaces with different activities (Limmud model). These three areas are as follows:1- Presentation of books, authors, essays. Local authors, authors from Madrid, historians, Hebrew scholars... It could make a total of seven presentations throughout the day (mínimum).2- Young space. Presentation of books by college students who have read about an author, a theme ... Also a literature workshop, storytelling ...3- Editorial area of sale and book Exchange.

I want to remaek one last thing. I am a member of the ROI community from few months ago. The last summit was a real source of inspiration. I learned to think big, be aware that the greatest risk is always not take any risks. This project is an initiative that will seek to have a very significant impact, not only for Judaism in this city, but for the whole Barcelona society. Someone should take the responsibility for entering into public life and present Judaism, seeking to normalize the situation of the Jewish community in the city and offer an immense wealth and contribution in building up different social structures for this society. I have the determination to take this step forward.

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