Dear President of the JECJ-Lorraine Association, dear Désirée Mayer Dear Chief Rabbi of Moselle, Bruno Fiszon Dear Mayor of Metz, Dear President of the JECJ College of Mayors, Dear Mr Dominique Gros, Dear friends,

Thank you for inviting me to the Inauguration of the 2012
European Days of Jewish Culture» JECJ/Lorraine.

You give me the opportunity to come and greet you all for
participate in the launch of this important event, which brought together
around 11,000 participants in 2011, which provides an opportunity for
visiting exhibitions, attending concerts, symposia, seminars, conferences, and

Twenty-six countries are participating in the annual event today. It is a
European success! The Council of Europe has also encouraged
cultural routes and has given its label to the
Jewish heritage." I know that the French association is currently
finalizing these routes.

In France, I would like to commend the work of the JECJ Association, which
annual days, in synergy with some interested municipalities
Jewish heritage. The mayor of Bayonne, whose
services organize locally the annual events was the
first president. Today, the mayor of Metz succeeded him and contributes
the organization of days in Lorraine.

I would like to say a few words about the protection of Jewish heritage under
historical monuments in France. Jewish heritage concerns all
citizens as part of our national heritage.

During the main construction period (1789 – 1914), some 250
synagogues were built in France, 113 of which have now disappeared.

Today, the number of synagogues still used as such in
France is valued at 280; fewer than 200 Jewish cemeteries remain, of which 53
only before the Revolution.

Alsace is the first region for Jewish heritage protected
as historical monuments (31 monuments, including 23 synagogues
or former synagogues, seven cemeteries, and one
school); Lorraine comes immediately after (14 monuments, including 12 synagogues
or former synagogues, 1 cemetery and the

Also in Lorraine, 2 synagogues are under protection (orders
prefectors being signed) at Pont-à-Mousson (54) and Bar-le-Duc
(55) and 1 cemetery in Frauenberg (57).

I know that the European days of Jewish culture rest in
much about the work of volunteers and are the result of a work
associative. The quality and variety of the programming explains the success
public of your cultural and convivial event. The days
European Jewish culture can also count on the support of
the State and you all know how committed Jean-Luc BREDEL,
Regional Director of Cultural Affairs, counted here in Lorraine for
the success of this event.

However, in order for these days to continue to emerge and prosper,
the involvement in France of local authorities, alongside other
partners (associations, patrons, institutions) is essential and should not
not weaken.

I would like to remind you that the Ministry of Culture and Communication
can highlight the value of Jewish heritage as a trace of a
multicultural past of France. Jewish heritage, through the power
and its dispersion throughout Europe, appears
also as a means of promoting to European youth
the spirit of tolerance and the fight against racism and xenophobia.

Your demonstration is an encouragement to intercultural dialogue.

Thank you.