Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 11:01 UK

Jews schmooze in city festival

The programme was launched by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Naomi Long
The programme was launched by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Naomi Long

The Jewish community in Northern Ireland is making its mark on the cultural calendar with a "Jews Schmooze".

A series of talks, exhibitions and concerts will celebrate a vibrant culture.

Records from the last census record just 400 members of the Jewish community in Northern Ireland.

They may be small in number but they are determined to celebrate their identity.

Jews Schmooze co-ordinator Katy Radford said: "Since the 1800s, the Jewish community in the north has fed into cultural and educational vibrancy here establishing schools and theatres and sponsoring arts events.

"Jews Schmooze is an opportunity for the community to continue that work and its commitment to partnering with other communities to promote cultural diversity and deter racism and anti-semitism."

The programme was launched at the north Belfast synagogue on Tuesday by Belfast's lord mayor, Councillor Naomi Long.

The synagogue will play host to many of the events taking place in October and November.

Los Desterrados will play a concert of sephardic music as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen's.

Schools can visit an exhibition on the Jewish way of life and can also enjoy a play - This is what we sang - commissioned by theatre company Kabosh with music by Neil Martin.

A film, Circumcise Me, about the life of American comedian Israel Campbell Hochstein will be followed by a discussion between comedian Dave Schneider and journalist Matthew Kalman about cultural identity.

Culture Minister Nelson McCausland congratulated the Belfast Jewish Community on their work in building awareness and understanding.

"Events like Jews Schmooze bring Jewish culture to a wider audience," he said.

"This enables all of us, through the medium of art, to understand and appreciate the riches that this culture has to offer the people of Northern Ireland."

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