I give a talk looking back at the evolution of Jewish heritage travel since the publication of my book “Jewish Heritage Travel”, as the closing event of the “Jewish days at the Ratusha” program.
Talk at the IAJGS conference
Over the past 3 decades, I’ve helped pioneer the (re)discovery and documentation of Jewish heritage sites in East-Central Europe and championed them as travel destinations. My talk will reflect on the changes I’ve witnessed since the first edition of my book “Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe” came out in 1992. Back then, almost all Jewish heritage sites in the region were places of “dark tourism.” Often ruined, dilapidated, and abandoned. Very few people even knew “what was there.” Since then, there’s been a revolution. Ruins still abound, but hundreds of sites have been restored/rediscovered and many are now full-fledged tourist attractions. I will examine these changes, focusing on certain places and certain specific facets, such as restored synagogues and cemeteries, and new Jewish heritage routes, but also reflecting on issues such as the commodification of Jewish culture and growth of a commercial Jewish heritage tourism industry.
A talk at the IAJGS conference:
Since we went online in 2012, www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu has become a key web portal to Jewish heritage news, info, resources and insights. We’ve added many new features such as a dedicated section on Jewish cemeteries, personal op-eds, a section on memorials to Jewish soldiers killed in WW1, and more. As of early 2018, we have a brand new web site design that incorporates new search possibilities and highlights our unique JHE news feed: a searchable database of more than 1,200 news items on Jewish heritage issues that is growing almost daily. As JHE director, I’m responsible for all content on the site. In my talk, I’ll discuss the new design and new. and planned new, features, including interactive use. I’ll also be looking for feedback to aid in the continuing development of the site.