The Jewish people have produced a vast cultural heritage; a remarkable visual chronicle across the ages and across the globe. These sites – synagogues, Jewish quarters, cemeteries, communal buildings – are repositories of Jewish life, art and customs, with many unique and beautifully constructed reflecting real architectural and artistic achievement.
However, the story of the 20th century has been one of transitions including massive, and often tragic, population loss and displacement. Many historic Jewish buildings, in losing their communities of users, have suffered from neglect, natural forces and human actions, and remain to this day highly vulnerable.
The vision of the Foundation for Jewish Heritage is to ensure that the most important Jewish heritage sites across the globe are identified, saved and given a sustainable future.
The Foundation aims to bring a strategic and comprehensive approach to Jewish heritage preservation, identifying the most important heritage sites in danger, developing solutions for such sites that preserve their historic fabric, recognise and honour the Jewish legacy while bringing the buildings back into use in a way that ensures their future, and brings social benefit to the local communities in which they are situated.
The Foundation’s work has four core elements:
- Research – creating an inventory of the Jewish built heritage; a comprehensive database documenting the Jewish sites that are architecturally, historically, or culturally significant while also identifying which sites are at risk.
- Advocacy – making the case for preserving Jewish cultural heritage, recruiting allies and partners, and campaigning and lobbying on behalf of specific sites in danger
- Expertise – providing professional advice and guidance to initiatives aimed at preserving Jewish heritage sites, working collaboratively with local partners to create solutions that will ensure a viable future for these buildings, while at the same time improving general expertise in Jewish heritage conservation.
- Resources – securing significant funding from public and private sources to be used to invest in specific programmes of preservation and in a way that can leverage additional funding.
Image © Foundation for Jewish Heritage