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.
On May 17th 2016, the official opening of the event took place at the Cotroceni Palace. The event lasted until the 18th of May. The theme of 2016 was – “Dimensions of Cohabitation and Contributions to the Development of Romania. Education, Science, Culture.”
At the opening of the event “Bridges of Tolerance” spoke to Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania, Mr Daniel Citone, President of B ́nai B ́rith Europe, Mr Jose Iacobescu, President of B ́nai B ́rith Romania , Mr. Aurel Vainer, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, Mr. Aledin Amet, State Secretary at the Department for Interethnic Relations, Mr. Daniel Vasile, President of the National Agency for Roma, Mr. Mihai Neacşu, director at the National Centre for Roma Culture.
Among the guests was Romania’s honorary consul in Israel, Tzvi Herman Berkovits known in Romania and as the personal doctor of Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu. He said, among other things: “For me attending this event is also personal, because I am the second generation after the Holocaust. My father, who worked in mandatory work camps and was lucky enough to return, my mother arrived at Auschwitz with her whole family, she’s the only one who’s managed to get out of this outbreak, her whole family was killed, and I, after all…I have known neither my grandparents nor my relatives, and for that this event is very important.”
An exhibition titled “Synagogues in Romania”, managed by the Head of the Heritage Department of FEDROM – Dipl. Engl. Rudy Marcovici and Architect of FEDROM – Lucia Apostol was also part of the event.
Following was a plenary session for the official opening of “The importance of education in fighting the discrimination of the Roma and entisemitism, and in keeping the memory of the Holocaust” workshop. The key speaker at the session were Undersecretary of State Ministry of Culture – Mrs. Irina Cajal, Professor and Director of Matei Basarab Highschool – Mrs. Lidia Maria Sorop, Head of the “Elie Wiesel” Institute – Mr. Alexandru Florian and Researcher at the Institute of Education Sciences – Mrs. Laura Elena Capita. The session was moderated by Tova Ben Nun Cherbis – Chairperson, the Lauder – Reut Romania Foundation. Matei Basarab Highschool hosted this part of the event in the highschool’s Amphitheater.
The day continued with a viewing of a series of documentaries, after which a seminar on “The importance of education in fighting discrimination and anti-Semitism. Keeping the memory of the Holocaust” was held. Speakers at this seminar were: Inspector, Education for the Roma, MENCS – Mr. Gheorghe Sarău, Professor, the University of Bucharest, Hebrew Studies – Mrs. Felicia Waldman, Professor, Director The Didactic Corp House, Bacau – Mr. Gabriel Stan and History Teacher, The Educational Complex Lauder-Reut – Mrs. Diana Gherasim.
A student awarding ceremony, followed by a festive concert ended the first day of this event.
The second day of the event commenced with a plenary on the topic of 2016’s edition – “Dimensions of Cohabitation and Contributions to the Development of Romania.
Education, Science, Culture”. The session was moderated by President of the Moses Rozen Lodge, in Romania and the key speakers were: President, Chamber of Deputies – Mr. Valeriu Zgonea, Presidential Counsellor – Mr. Sergiu Nistor, President of B’nai B’rith Europe – Mr. Daniel Citone, Secretary of State, the Department of Interethnic Affairs – Mr. Aledin Amet, President, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania – Mr. Aurel Vainer and President of the National Agency for the Roma – Mr. Daniel Vasile.
The coming up plenary sessions were focused on “Contributions of ethnic Jews, Roma and Tatars to the development of Romania. The Meaning of Tolerance and Risks of Radicalization”, moderated by Mr. Aurel Vainer, Mr. Aledin Amet and the “Contributions of ethnic Jews, Roma and Tatars to the development of Romania”, moderated by Mr. Aurel Vainer and Mr. Daniel Vasile. Writers, professors, Board members of the B’nai B’rith Lodge in Bucharest and Members of the Parliament joined these plenaries.