- Creative Corner
For about 2000 years Jews have been established in Europe with different intensity, depending on the time and geographic region. Traces of a Jewish presence in the Balkans goes back to third century A.D.
Historical documents confirm Jews arrived in Belgrade in the beginning of the 16th century. Before World War II there were 12,000 Jews living in Belgrade.
History of pre World War II Belgrade indicates that Jews made valuable contributions in various fields. Jewish culture and heritage significantly contributed to the area over many centuries.
Despite the near destruction of the Jewish community during both the Holocaust and then post war communist period, many traces of Jewish culture and civilization remain in the city.
With its vibrant historical background, and unique cultural and traditions, life in the Jewish community that existed in Belgrade was rich and flourishing.
During the post WW II period, some Jewish heritage sites were restored in the city and are included on the list of national cultural monuments.
In Belgrade, the Jewish community actively maintains its property that survived extensive destruction during Holocaust. These properties include the Jewish Community Building, Sukkat Shalom Synagogue, and the Jewish cemeteries. With the support of the local city authorities, Holocaust memorials have been erected in the original Jewish Quarter of Dorchol (a large metal sculpture of a Menorah wrapped in flames) and at the site of Topovske supe camp.
Despite out best efforts to preserve the physical structures of our Jewish heritage, destruction and the tragic history of the past persists in the daily life of our community. Restitution of community property by the authorities is slow at best, with little progress expected in the foreseeable future. Much remains to be done to maintain and expand broad new horizons for the broken Jewish heritage in Belgrade.
With the Jewish religious revival in the country, considerable numbers of Jews and descendants of Jews have returned to their local communities and have started to search for meaning in their Jewish roots; sometimes in a religious sense and sometimes in an ethnic or cultural sense.
The JCC initiated Makor 011, its Cultural Forum, with the aim of recreating the links to the vibrant cultural traditions of the Jews in the city and in the country.
This begins with individual and collective awareness of our roots, local history, regional specificities, culture, traditions and customs.
Makor 011 recognizes new conditions and developments of the personal, political and technical environments that guide new generations in both Belgrade and Serbia. Makor 011 deeply cares about future generations.
The primary role of Makor 011 is to give Jewish people the opportunity to rekindle their Jewish identity through new opportunities beyond what currently exists. Jews must learn about their culture; develop their awareness of both local and of European Jewry by studying local and regional history; search for their family roots; and establish social connections with other Jews locally as well as in neighboring cities and other countries.
Makor 011 aims to revive individual and communal Jewish identity through various activities and opportunities. Our goal is to develop a concept of learning accepted by the individual or group concerning Jewish heritage that will expand Jewish knowledge as a response to assimilation in the modern Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.
Makor 011 activities include lectures, workshops, concerts and study visits. We promote continuity, active participation and personal involvement. The scope of Makor 011 programs will deal predominately with individual and community roots with topics related to our cultural heritage and tradition, genealogy, social life, arts and music. Additional topics include the Jewish diaspora, Israel, anti-Semitism, assimilation and community leadership.The program is designed for students, young adults and senior members of community.
Makor 011 aims to educate, inspire and empower Jews for lifetime activity, leadership and service on behalf of the Jewish people and the larger society.
Makor 011 is committed to helping the Jewish community to create a group of animated, dedicated, motivated Jews who are prepared and excited by the prospect of living a rich and meaningful Jewish life that will be advanced by justice and peace in the world.