This bulletin is devoted to the dissemination of the Jewish cultural heritage. I am invited to write the editorial, and think that the best I can do is convey some personal reflections, fruit of the experience of the years in which I was member of the Patronat Call de Girona in the capacity of town councillor. As such, I received first hand information of the good work that is being done from the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta and of how we raised awareness and the research of the Jewish cultural heritage, which for centuries was hidden, isolated, and buried by the passage of time, the indifference, and also the cultural and economic misery of a country, ours, in which it has taken a lot to recover from the war of '36, and even more from the obscurantism of the dictatorship.
It is indisputable to recognize that in the last 30 years the complicity between the institutions and private initiative has made visible an extraordinary Jewish legacy. But, I fear that the recovery of the physical heritage has not insured the recuperation and longevity of the culture. To stroll through the Call is a rewarding experience to inhabitants of Girona and visitors alike, it is the picture-postcard Girona, that of books, that which has personality, that which "Enamours", as asserts the institutional publicity, but... are we, inhabitants of Girona, enamoured by our history? Are we aware that in the Call for more than 600 years, lived, Jewish families, with their own customs, traditions, sentiments and knowledge?
When someone walks through the ruins of Empúries -which I often do- one is fully conscious that Greeks and Romans were there and that we are their descendents. Do we have the same feeling when we pass through the Call? Are we capable of grasping that past? Probably those of who read the Call bulletin would say yes, but the thousands of people who pass through, what do they say?
The data that each year the Patronat provides concerning, for example, visitors to the museum, endorses that which preoccupies me. It is the Jewish from around the world visiting Girona who are most interested in this heritage. The recuperation of the Call achieved, now we have to learn also to recognize and sense Jewish culture and its values as part of our own. I believe that for the coming years, the challenge will be how not to make the Call a theme park, nor a decoration.
The year that we have just started contains the magic number according to Jewish tradition, the seven, and this allows me to finish with a citation from the book "The Seven Doors of the Jewry" by P. Bosch, R. Salip and J. Moreno: "Seven therefore, are the secret doors of the life of men who seek knowledge. Those seven symbolic doors are said to be found at every corner of the world where there is a trace of a culture and a wisdom as ancient as that of the Jews."
Zoila Riera i Ben
Town councillor of CiU in the Municipality of Girona