The Slovak Spectator runs a lengthy article highlighting the range of Jewish heritage in Slovakia.
Reporter Carmen Virágová notes the Jewish Community Museum in Bratislava, as well as the Chatam Sofer tomb and the two dozen sites on the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route, and the “Mazal Tov” Jewish culture festival in eastern Slovakia.
“Opening the windows for you”, is the slogan of Mazal Tov, a festival of Jewish culture held annually in early July that aspires to merge history, traditions and culture into one event.
The festival held under the auspices of the non-governmental organisation MoreMusic offers concerts of traditional Jewish klezmer or jazz music, exhibitions, workshops, readings of literature and film screenings, as well as guided tours through Košice, Bardejov and Prešov in eastern Slovakia. These are also available in English or Hungarian languages.
“People can enter the places which are otherwise closed to the public such as old synagogues,” said Jana Šargová, the dramaturgist and one of the organisers of the festival.
Recent incarnations of the festival have featured jazz star Avishai Cohen and famous Slovak-Canadian photographer Yuri Dojc.
We have posted on these topics here on JHE, but it is always good to see “mainstream” publications bring them to attention.
The article notes successes in preserving and promoting Jewish heritage sites, but also underscores that many are still neglected.
There are seven active Slovak synagogues, one in Bratislava, two in the south in Nové Zámky and Komárno, two in Košice, and one each in Bardejov and Prešov.
The rest of Slovakia’s synagogues are either dilapidated or used for other purposes. Some are used as museums and art galleries today, like the synagogue in Nitra or Trnava. The old synagogue in Trstená is a shopping centre. Komárno’s synagogue is a squash centre; Zlaté Moravce’s houses a climbing wall, Tvrdošín’s a bar, and in Revúca the building has been converted into a centre for Jehovah’s Witnesses.