“2026: Saxony Embraces the Year of Jewish Culture”

by | Mar 8, 2024 | Explore Local | 0 comments

Jewish Culture in Saxony to be Celebrated in 2026

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“Tacheles”, a themed year dedicated to the rich and diverse Jewish culture and history of Saxony, will be celebrated nationwide in 2026. The initiative aims to promote exchange, introduce Jewish perspectives, and uncover hidden treasures, particularly in regions outside of major cities. It also serves as a demonstration of solidarity and support for the Jewish community in light of recent events.”

Jewish life has existed in Saxony since the Middle Ages, and now, a themed year will pay tribute to this culture. The initiative, titled “Tacheles”, seeks to make the diverse Jewish culture and history of Saxony visible and celebrated throughout the state in 2026. During a press conference in Chemnitz, Minister of Culture Barbara Klepsch emphasized that Jewish culture is an integral part of Saxon culture. The primary focus of the themed year is to foster exchange and encounters, as well as uncover previously undiscovered treasures, particularly in regions away from major cities. The initiative is also a response to the terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7th, with the aim of expressing solidarity with the Jewish community.

Overview of the Themed Year

The themed year is set to begin with the lighting of the first Chanukah candle on December 14th, 2025, and will feature a broad range of activities encompassing history, commemorative culture, film, literature, music, culinary experiences, and humor in various formats. The program includes exhibitions, concerts, festivals, discussions, religious services, and open celebrations of Jewish festivals such as Chanukah and Passover, accessible to everyone.

Support and Broad Participation

Goldenbogen, Chair of the State Association of Jewish Communities, expressed her delight at the broad and decentralized nature of the themed year. She highlighted the importance of not just talking about Jews, but also offering Jewish perspectives and facilitating encounters with Jewish individuals. According to her, the Jewish communities in Saxony have around 2,500 members, and there are also Jews who are not affiliated with these communities. The concrete program for the themed year is still being developed, and the first project call is expected to be announced in the summer. The State Museum for Archaeology (smac), for example, plans to present an exhibition on Mikveh, a ritual Jewish bath discovered in the city center of Chemnitz a few years ago. All major concert halls and museums in Saxony are also expected to participate in this themed year.

The idea for the themed year originated from discussions in Dresden and Leipzig about a museum exhibition on Jewish culture. However, instead of opting for a static location, organizers decided on a dynamic, region-wide format. The title “Tacheles” symbolizes free expression of opinions, open conversation, and dialogue on an equal footing.

Responding to Modern Challenges

Goldenbogen noted that open antisemitism has been on the rise and taking on new dimensions, as well as an increase in right-wing extremist political actions. She also referred to the terrorist attack on October 7th and the conflict in Gaza. The themed year aims to encourage discussion and provide an opportunity for education, which helps to address and handle such conflicts more effectively.

This initiative serves not only as a celebration of the rich Jewish culture and history of Saxony but also as a platform to promote dialogue, understanding, and respect among various communities. Through showcasing the diverse aspects of Jewish culture, “Tacheles” aims to foster unity, combat prejudice, and build a stronger, more inclusive society.

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