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The Jewish Cemetery of Bitola/Monastir ‘BEIT HAIM’ (Home of the Living) was founded in 1497, only five years after their expulsion from Spain.  This is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Jewish Cemetery on the Balkans. It has served the Jewish community of Monastir for more than 400 years.

During World War I, when the front line was passing through the town, Jewish cemeteries suffered severe damage from the bombing of the city conducted by the Central Powers (Germany and Bulgaria) throughout 1916.

When Rabbi Shabtai Dzhaen arrived in Bitola in 1924, he saw that the cemetery lies on a sharp slope on the outskirts of the city and is in a very bad condition. Most of the monuments were destroyed and served as construction material. Sometimes the inscriptions were disposed, but often stayed as ornaments. The remaining tombstones were scattered, broken and moss was spread all over them. Rabbi Dzhaen traveled to America and there he gathered contributions from the Jewish-born migrants from Bitola/Monastir. When he returned in 1929, the rabbi initiated an action to build a very nice and solid protective wall of stone with iron minted David shields, and arrange the cemetery itself.  This wall/fence preserved Bitola’s Jewish Cemetery from further desecration and destruction even during the Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia in World War II.

евр гроб1The Cemetery was abandoned and left to ruin after the deportation of all Bitola’s Jews in 1943. The Bulgarian soldiers had used the gravestones to pave the military camp, the parade grounds, the floors of their barracks, the swimming pool, the walls of the washrooms, sidewalks etc…. All that was left were smashed pieces of gravestones strewn all over the Cemetery.

In 1961, the City Council of Bitola decided to remodel the entire complex and to create a park that would carry the memories of the former Jewish community and to put this memorial park under government protection. The project was developed and initial calculations were made, parts of the funds for spatial reconstruction were assigned, but nothing was undertaken.

A civil campaign to restore the cemetery and create a Holocaust memorial complex there began in 1997 to coincide with the 500th anniversary of its foundation. Considerable work was carried out, including the restoration of the monumental entrance gate, declared a national historic-cultural monument. It has a central Gothic arch flanked by two Gothic-arched windows and features a facade whose upper part is decoratively ribbed.[1]

This initiative lost its momentum in 2005 when work began on the construction of the Memorial Center in Skopje, but it regained it this summer when the Memorandum for cooperation 2015  between Israel and Bitola/Monastir was signed. It envisages the creation of a memorial park to honor the Jewish population that lived here and further nurture the good relationship between Israel and Macedonia. ARHAM of course, had an essential role in the signing of the agreement.

Today, the Cemetery is fully enclosed by a wall (three sides are masonry and part of the front is decorative iron grille work). The main gate stands at the bottom of the hill. Several thousand grave markers remain, but most are illegible and only a few – in the lower left corner as seen from the entrance – are in good condition. Most of the gravestones lie flat, in the Sephardic manner.

 

[1] http://www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu/macedonia/heritage-and-heritage-sites

 

From 13-15th of October the  Water Technology and Environmental Control Exhibition & Conference 2015, in which ARHAM’s members will be active participants, will be held in Israel.

WATEC Israel is a biennial exhibition taking place over three days. It offers the perfect opportunity to hear from and meet a range of growing Water, Energy & Environment companies seeking a combination of partners, investment and professional services to develop their companies. Every WATEC Israel event attracts thousands of water and wastewater professionals from around the world.

Screen-Shot-2013-02-19-at-2.13.32-PMIsrael has long played a major role in the Cleantech field, evolving from a nation of limited natural resources to a significant player in global sustainability. Making use of its highly educated workforce and vast experience in the hi-tech industry, the country has developed an industry, over 400 companies strong, dedicated exclusively to sustainable water, energy and environmental technologies.

Israel’s specific water needs have helped produce many significant developments:

  • Several of the World’s Largest RO Desalination Plants are located in Israel (Sorek and Hadera)
  • World Leadership in using Recycled Water (more than 80% of Agricultural Consumption)
  • One of the World’s most Advanced Systems of Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation
  • Unique Integrative Management of Varied Water Sources
  • Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the One-of-a-kind National Water Carrier
  • Advanced Solutions of Water Quality, Safety
  • Advanced Homeland Water Security Solutions

The Israeli Water Weekpapillon

“Out of the necessity of contending with difficult and adverse climate and geographical conditions and supported by its entrepreneurial culture, Israel has become a globally unique water solutions hub.

One of the most significant challenges in the global water arena is the reduction of pressure on natural water resources, among other resources, caused by rapid population growth, climate change and increased industrial activity. It is clear today that advanced technologies are the key to more efficient exploitation of natural resources (water, soil, energy & materials). It is estimated that new technologies and smart water solutions will contribute to the provision of almost two-thirds of the additional quantities of water required in future decades.

Bringing together Israeli & international business executives, water utility engineers, political decisions makers and leading researchers, WATEC 2015 promises to be a premier showcase for the most advanced technologies and solutions from Israel and around the world.”

an excerpt from WATEC 2015 Chairman’s Welcome Letter

Here’s a link to the event’s website: www.watec-israel.com

 

 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS 2014

Bitola/Monastir, June 10/11

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS will be held in Bitola/Monastir on June 11th and 12th 2014 and organized by the Association for sustainable urban development ARHAM from Bitola/Monastir.

The objective of this conference is to promote engineering, economic and legal procedures for improving energy efficiency of buildings.

The participants of this conference are: engineers included in the project, the scientific community, institutions in charge of implementing energy policies and protecting the environment, users of public facilities, as well as professional organizations and civil associations which advocate energy efficiency.

The expectations are that this conference will raise public awareness on the necessity of improving energy efficiency, stimulating engineering research in this area,  assessing national and local energy efficiency legislature and elaborating the possibilities for financial and fiscal relief when constructing or reconstructing buildings with a high energy class.

In order to achieve these objectives we will hold 6 plenary sessions and promote the ‘Pelagonia Regional Center for Energy Efficiency’, as well as the new ‘Energy efficiency guide’.

The Conference will be a part of an international project sponsored by the EU. PROMOTION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS & PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT sponsored by the EU and part of the Greece-Macedonia IPA Cross-Border program 2007-2013.