The aim of the project “Bridges of Tolerance”, launched in 2013, is to disseminate information about the contribution of the Jewish minority group to the local culture, to fight the growing antisemitism in Europe through education, to encourage a public debate about the efficiency of the existing tools and modes of implementation of Hate Crime through the existing legislation and to bring about an inter-faith dialogue between Jews and Christians on the basic values of our Judeo-Christian civilization.
For three days, from June 3 to 5, 2015, the second edition of the project “Bridges of Tolerance”, organized by B’nai B’rith Europe (BBE) and B’nai B’rith Romania (BBR), took place in Bucharest, under the motto “Education, culture, diplomacy” aiming to a better understanding of Jews and of the Jews and non-Jews rapprochement.
The partners: Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, FJCR Educational Complex “Lauder – Reut” Romania, the Municipality of Sector 3, the Student Council – Bucharest, National Institute for Holocaust Studies in Romania “Elie Wiesel”, the National Opera in Bucharest, the Romanian Parliament.
The official opening took place at the Bucharest National Opera. Symposiums were held at the Ministry of Culture, the Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Before the inaugural concert at the National Opera in Bucharest, BBR president, Eng. Jose Iacobescu, made a brief history of BBR, thanked the partners, the sponsors, the event organizers, as well as the visitors from Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, and representatives of the Lodges of B’nai B’rith.
The show covered very popular areas of opera and operetta. At the symposium on education, opened by Tova Ben-Nun Cherbis, President of the Foundation “Lauder – Reut”, José Iacobescu, BBR President and Ioan Vulpescu, Minister of Culture, took the floor, the documentary film on scientist Felix Zandman, blessed his memory, a Holocaust survivor was screened and his wife, Ruta Zandman, said a few words. Dr. Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu, former foreign minister and former romanian premier, spoke about Iaşi pogrom in 1941. Romanian Holocaust survivors relived their sufferings of those years: Dr. Miriam Bercovici, Dr. Sylvia Hoişie, Eng. Iancu Ţucărman.
In the second part of the event moderated by Emil Hurezeanu, Professor Adrian Cioroianu, ambassador Professor Theodor Paleologu, former minister of Culture, Doru Dumitrescu, general inspector in the Ministry of Education held speeches. The central ideas: “the culture of tolerance” – a possible vaccine against intolerance; only enforcing the laws that punish it, we could halt the anti-Semitism; the lessons of the past in terms of the present.
The second day workshops were dedicated to the culture, justice, ethics and their moderators were Dr. Aurel Vainer, FJCR President, Valeriu Zgonea, President of the Chamber of Deputies. Florin Iordache, Chamber of Deputies deputy, Dr. Alexandru Florian, INSHR general manager, Dr. Andrei Oişteanu, Ioan Vulpescu, Minister of Culture, Professor Ruxandra Demetrescu, Eugen Simion, academician, Dr. Paula Popoiu, Univ. Professor Nasty Vlădoiu, Univ. Professor Gheorghe Iancu, Univ. Professor Vasile Morar, Univ. Professor Mihnea Costoiu, His Grace Ieronim Sinaite – Romanian Patriarchate had interventions. They discussed the imagery promoting prejudices, the projects for stereotypes changing, the need for prevention in face of evil.
At the workshop on the Jews contribution in Romanian diplomacy – moderated by Răzvan Rusu, general director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, Minister, His Excellency Dan BenEliezer, Israel ambassador in Romania, ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, Univ. Professor Andrei Cioroianu, Erika van Gelder, BBE president, Eng. Jose Iacobescu, BBR Chairman, Irina Cajal, vice-secretary of Ministry of Culture, Alina Oroşan Director of International Law Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held speeches. They addressed different issues: recognition of the steps taken by Romania to take next year presidency of the International Alliance for the Holocaust Memory, the importance of the joint meeting of Israeli and Romanian governments in 2014, the fighting against intolerance in the political class, the saving of Jews’ lives during the Holocaust by Romanian diplomats, the role of Jewish parliamentarians in the interwar period and the actions of some Jewish community leaders after 1990 for the entry of Romania in the Euro-Atlantic structures, the Romanian model of promoting the inter-cultural exchanges.