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Urban Cultours: Dossier de Presse


Jewish Heritage Europe Conference in Krakow
Linda Jimenez


RADIO SEFARAD, English Corner

When and where was Jewish Heritage Europe founded?

Dominique Tomasov is an architect based in Barcelona where she is an active member of Reform Congregation Atid and a founder of Center Zakhor of Barcelona, an organization which is specialized in the protection and transmission of Jewish Heritage.

She recently attended a Seminar in Krakow, Poland, that was organized by Jewish Heritage Europe. The title of the seminar was Managing Jewish Inmovable Heritage in Europe, a working seminar on projects, challenges and strategic thinking.

link to interview

Jewish News ONE world's Jewish-interest news channel

Standing over the city of Barcelona is the medieval resting site of up to thousands of Jews, Montjuic. Currently a plan is in place to try and mark out the exact area of the site so as to stop further construction from happening on top of the graves.

To try and date the origin of the cemetery, Dominique was advised to search through property records to find the first time the hill was referred to as Montjuic, which means Mount of the Jews in old Catalán, the language spoken in Catalonia.


Medieval Jewish cemetery in Spain
Paul Walsh

Reencontrer les racines juives


Jordi Vila pour a Antena 2 · 9/11/08

Elle est une des pionnières à expliquer l'histoire du Call juif de Barcelone. En fait, Ville Comtal a fait que Dominique Tomasov se retrouve avec ses racines.
Elle est aussi une des promoteurs du CentreZakhor de Barcelone,
specializé à la protection et transmission du patrimoinr juif.

lien au reportage - commence au min.15:17

the city's magazine in English - October 2008

In an effort to gain acknowledgement, the Jewish community united and petitioned to have the Generalitat offi cially recognise the cemetery,
and prevent future construction on the site. Due to their efforts, in 2007 Catalunya recognised the cemetery as an offi cial landmark.

We are not interested in vying with the city”, explained Dominique Tomasov Blinder, an architect and Jewish heritage advocate. “We want to work together, adding our expertise as consultancy, to acknowledge the importance of this place to the Jews and the city.”


Barcelona's Jews
Roi Ben-Yehuda


The Jews of Spain
Janet Levin

Sepharad in Barcelona

article en anglais


quarterly magazine of Jewish culture, UK - July 2008

Jewish heritage is now a major industry in Spain. Cities cooperated to form a network of Jewish quarters –Caminos de Sepharad– conservation is taking place and many festivals and lectures are held, often without any Jewish participation and sometimes with doubtful authenticity.

"I want to give a Jewish voice to the explanation of the Jewish past – and to connect it with the Jewish present. Many in Spain cannot see any connection."
Dominique told me that a campaign she had mounted with Israeli architect David Stoleru had born fruit. A medieval Jewish cemetery in the town was to have had a public toilet built over it. “It is hidden from view but there are bones still there.” There were petitions and much
pressure from the Jewish Communities and finally the Catalonian government agreed that the site should have the status of a landmark.

National Geographic TRAVELER
December 2007

Still, I couldn't forget that Barcelona hadn't always been a lovefest. There was the matter of the Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews in the 1400's. I'm not a very observant Jew, but when I travel I gravitate to the ghettos and eerie pockets of once flourishing-communities where crumbling remains offer starck reminders of all that was lost. So I met up with a Jewish architect, Dominique Tomasov Blinder, who started Urban Cultours to give an inside look at Barcelona's former Jewish quarter, or Call.

As we explored the tangle of streets in the Call, it became clear that Blinder was on a mission. "This was one of the most important centers of Jewish life until the late 14th century. I believe the memory must be kept alive and given a voice after 600 years of oblivion." She pointed to Hebrew inscriptions in the wall of a medieval building. "These tombstones were taken from the Jewish cemetery and used for construction after the Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism or flee the country." The streets of the Call felt barren, more numbing abscence than presence.


Barcelona two perspectives
Hugh Delehanty & Barbara Graham

Barcelona restoring Jewish quarter -
but local Jews say they feel ignored
Reuven Friedman
December 14, 2006


JTA, Global news service of the Jewish people

Dominique Tomasov, also an architect and a founding member of the Reform congregation, independently began giving a Jewish voice to guided tours of the neighborhood in the late 1990s.She tells visitors the history of Barcelona Jews while tying it in to the re-emergence of a living community. Tomasov spoke of fruitless efforts to build some sort of partnership with the city around the renovation project.

What upsets me most about this is that Judaism is a living culture,” she said. “It has a presence in Barcelona, and we could bring Jewish authenticity to the project.”

Various sources, including those in City Hall, said anti-Israel feeling has affected the city’s attitude on some level.

Let us take a look into the life of Dominique Tomasov: we will have a better perspective of Judaism and Barcelona. Born in New York,… almost immediately (her family) returns to Buenos Aires, where she grew up and studied architecture… We now have Dominique settled in Barcelona (since 1991), following perhaps a mysterious mandate by Yaveh.

Being Jewish did not take a prominent place in her life. But one day…
"I was invited to a family Shabbat… I liked it and repeated the following Friday, and the next. In my case, there was a happy coincidence between reconnecting with my roots, participating in community life and discovering the Judaism of Barcelona… Step by step I got more and more involved, I studied, until it was time when I knew that I had to tell the Jewish story of this city from my personal perspective as a Jewish woman in Barcelona".


Jewish Barcelona
Sergio Makaroff

EL PAÍS, Spain
September 23, 2005

Jewish Barcelona

Sepharad in Barcelona
Antonio Baquero

Sepharad in Barcelona


El Periódico de Catalunya, Spain - September 5, 2005

A route in the Call becomes the “star of the European Day of Jewish Culture”: "We are here to explain a history common to all of us, Barcelonians and Jews." Thus opened Dominique Tomasov the visit "to the story of the Call", Barcelona’s Jewish quarter.

This woman, who combines her architecture profession with the Hebrew heritage, lead the participants through the lights and shadows of Sephardi Barcelona.

Her description and Catherine Favret’s story telling turned the walk into a real discovery. The route was the main course of the European Day of Jewish Culture, celebrated yesterday in Barcelona for the third year and organized in 26 European countries the same day.

NIW, Niew Israelitisch Weekblad, Holland - January 21, 2005

The walks in the Call, the website and the study, take a lot of her time; but Dominique Tomasov Blinder does not mind it “because it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

“Some time ago, Jewish North American visitors gave me this advice: tell us the Jewish history of Barcelona, do not allow this heritage to be lost….”

“I then realized that there was a very rich Jewish past here but, on one hand the local Jewish community was shy and introverted for a long time, and on the other the conversions had left very deep scars… It is about not forgetting all of this.”


Our own Barcelona
Mariano Slutzky


Back to Sepharad
Robert Rosenblatt

JUDISK Kronika Sweden
November 2004

Back to Sepharad


Dominique Tomasov Blinder found a Jewish Barcelona that changed her life. Today, more than ten years after her departure from a secularised life in New York, she is one of the leader's of Spain's liberal Jewish community and has an opinion in a lot if issues when it comes to Jewish culture.

The municipality of Barcelona is in a process of renovating the old Jewish quarter and excavating the old Jewish cemetery on the Montjuic (mountain of the Jews). However, the local Jews has not been informed about any of this. “Our culture is taken as something of the past, to be displayed in cases as interesting objects for tourists.”

Jewish life in Spain is everything but free of problem but seems to be on its way back again after more than 500 years of exile and will probably give the country an additional attraction above the beautiful churches and the dried ham.

In 1871, only 21 identified Jews were resident of Spain and very few lived in Barcelona. As intermarriage is at least 50%, ATID liberal congregation is the only place where a Jewish person can participate with a non-Jewish partner. With the occasional support of visiting Rabbis of the WUPJ, ATID was founded in 1992 by a dozen of young families who had been holdings services and activities in the houses.

ATID became involved in the restoration of the historic synagogue seven years ago, when Miguel Iaffa, a friend of the congregation, bought the basement of a building identified as the mayor synagogue in XIV c. documents. Thanks to a website launched by Dominique Tomasov Blinder –member of ATID– and to her assistance, the first bar mitzvah was celebrated there after 600 years.

“We really want to put Atid on the map for Jewish people all over the world, so that they can share their experiences with us” says Rabbi Edery. “Come and see us, meet our family of congregants.”


Rebirth in Barcelona
Schelly Talalay Dardashti


Rebirth in Barcelona

Barcelone - la - Juive
Ann-Eve Fillenbaum


REGARDS, Revue du Centre communautaire laïc de Belgique
Newsletter N° 3 - 4, Septembre 2002

Barcelone est grandiose, éblouissante et multiple. Sous le rythme endiablé d'une ville qui ne dort jamais, on trouve des siècles d'histoire, des jours de tragedies humaines, surtout lorsqu'on évoque la communauté juive, expulsée hors de ces murs comme du reste du pays lors de l'Inquisition.

… Dominique Tomasov Blinder est l'une des instigatrices de la redécouverte du passé juif. Architecte de profession, elle a monté Urban Cultours, à partir de "rien", grâce à sa passion pour l'architecture et pour sa nouvelle ville d'accueil, stimulée par la promesse faite à sa mère de ne pas briser la chaîne du souvenir. Depuis 1997, elle conduit allègrement les touristes à travers le Call, le vieux quartier juif de Barcelone, leur relatant les us et coutumes d'un judaïsme d'antan. Peu à peu, les espagnols, eux aussi, renouent avec ce chapitre de leur histoire.

The Sophisticated Traveller, The New York Times Magazine
18 novembre, 2001

André Aciman enseigne la littérature comparée au City University Graduate Center à New York. La raison profonde de sa visite à Barcelone, “… je suis venu rechercher mes racines juives en Espagne …” Bien sûr, il ne reste que peu de vestiges de la vie juive d’il y a 500 ou 1000 ans (même si de nouvelles traces sont actuellement découvertes- comme les restes de l’ancienne synagogue) et malheureusement André Aciman se sent un peu déçu du résultat de sa recherche.

Lors d’une promenade organisée par Urban Cultours, devant la maison de l’alchimiste, il dit:
… Je me suis surpris à rechercher ce que j’imagine tout juif recherche en secret. Je ne suis pas croyant, peut être ma démarche est elle déplacée, cependant ma main continue à suivre le montant droit de la porte, dans l’espoir de palper une veine dans le bois qui m’indiquera le lieu d’une absente mezouza. Je sais que mon guide m’a vu et a compris mon geste. Mais discrète, elle ne dit rien. Je sais qu'elle sait. Je sais qu'elle sait. Je sais qu'elle sait. … J'ai grandi avec tout cet héritage suranné des convertis.


André Aciman

Menorah, Synagogue Schlomo ben Adret,
artiste Ferran Aguiló

Lisa Alcaly Klug,
chroniqueur de voyage


The Jewish Week, hebdomadaire au service de la communauté juive de New York. 26 octobre 2001

Lisa Alcalay Klug a suivi les circuits proposés par Urban Cultours, elle a fait la connaissance d’autres visiteurs et des membres de la communauté. Elle a assisté aux offices du chabbat et été invitée au domicile du Chabad avec d’autres visiteurs. Sa chronique montre son enchantement.

Un guide qui, comme Dominique Tomasov Blinder, parle parfaitement plusieurs langues et possède une grande expérience, vous rend la «visite-promenade» des plus interessantes. J’ai pu le constater et en profiter pleinement lors de ma dernière visite à Barcelone, invitée par la Chambre du Tourisme Espagnol et plusieurs autres organismes de Catalogne.

Selon Mario Wainstein, pour bien connaître le Call de Barcelone, mieux vaut être accompagné par un guide spécialisé.

… si vous visitez le musée de la ville situé Plaça del Rei, descendez jusqu’aux ruines romaines et médiévales au sous-sol, et là, prêtez attention. Parcourant ce fascinant musée, pratiquement a la sortie, au moment de tourner sur votre gauche. Levez les yeux, vous découvrirez, insérées dans le mur face à vous, des pierres avec des inscriptions. Approchez vous et vous découvrirez qu’il s’agit d’une écriture en hébreux.

… seul, sans l’intervention de mon guide, Dominique Tomasov Blinder, je ne l'aurais jamais remarqué …


Mario Wainstein,
redacteur en chef,
AURORA, Israël Octobre 2001

Discovering ancient hebrew inscriptions

Silvia Riu,
rédactrice en chef,
Barcelona PLUS
Nº 15, Automne 2000

The small, narrow streets of the Barcelona jewish Call


Silvia Riu et le photographe Dani Codina, avant d’écrire cet article détaillé sur l’histoire de plusieurs quartiers juifs, ont visité le Call de Barcelone, accompagnés par Dominique Tomasov Blinder (Urban Cultours Project). Cet article, sur l’héritage juif en Catalogne, est le premier du genre dans la presse locale depuis de nombreuses années. Le style de Silvia Riu est un vrai plaisir pour le lecteur.

… le dédale de ruelles très étroites de l’ancien Call -le tracé du quartier actuel est légèrement différent- forme un havre de paix ombragé invitant à la promenade. L’étroitesse des ruelles est telle, qu’à certaines époques de forte densité démographique et pour pouvoir abriter les nouveaux arrivant dans la communauté, le faible espace de façade à façade a été comblé par des constructions de fortune, rajoutées au niveau des étages, transformant ainsi la rue en un véritable tunnel.

George Semler pour FODOR Guides
Random House (dernières éditions)

… visites à pieds: les meilleures visites guidées en anglais sur tous les sujets, de la Sagrada Familia au Call, le quartier juif du Moyen Age. Contacter Dominique Tomasov Blinder, Urban Cultours.


A mission to rescue Barcelona's jewish past


compagnon de voyage sur les sites juifs d'Europe
Jeremy Leigh pour Guide UJIA, Londres (en presse, 2001)

… A tous ceux qui ont l'intention de visiter les sites juifs de Barcelone et du reste de l'Espagne-Sachez qu'avec Urban Cultours, vous disposerez d'un grand spécialiste du tourisme sur les lieux d'intérêt juif. Vous êtes assurés d'un excellent service et d'une grande qualité. Ce projet, organisé par Domique Tomasov Blinder.

le Call, ancien quartier juif de Barcelone

Trudie Trox pour
MERIAN Classic, Culture avec génie: Barcelone. 2002

… Les ruelles ne sont pas plus étroites, les maisons ne sont ni plus majestueuses ni plus humbles que dans le reste du quartier gothique. Le quartier juif de Barcelone (Call, de l'hébreux "kahal": assemblée) a abrité jusqu'à 4000 personnes au Moyen Age …

… Les empruntes juives sont aujourd'hui plus que rares dans le Call. Urban Cultours propose des visites (Anglais, Espagnol), d'un contenu historique et culturel élevé …


A mission to rescue Barcelona's jewish past

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