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Grand projects get the green light

    Architect's drawing of the Podgorica complex
    Architect's drawing of the Podgorica complex

    Two major new Jewish projects - at opposite ends of Europe - were announced last month.

    The community of Montenegro made known its plans to build the first synagogue in the country in 500 years.

    The shul complex, to be built in Podgorica, the country's capital, will include a meeting centre for the 400-strong community, and be equipped to host Jewish visitors.

    In a statement, the community said it wanted to use the centre to facilitate "understanding and cultural exchange with other religions and with Montenegrin society at large".

    Meanwhile, Sweden's Jewish Museum Foundation has said it was being given £130,000 to set up a new museum in Stockholm's Old Town. The grant is part of the government's spring budget.

    The new Jewish museum will be set up in premises that used to house Sweden's very first synagogue - established in the 18th century but long since out of use - as the foundation plans to use the money to fund its move to the Old Town.

    The new centre will focus on Swedish-Jewish history and integration.

    Sweden's minister for culture and democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke of the Green Party, told newspaper Dagens Nyheter: "The Jewish history and future are an obvious part of Sweden's heritage. With a new museum, more people will get the chance to discover that."

    The news comes almost exactly a year after the appointment of a new Jewish museum chief, Christina Gamstorp. She said the new premises had strong symbolic value. "An authentic location like this is almost like an artefact. The walls tell the story of what it used to look like," she said. The new museum is set to open in 2018, though guided tours may be available next year.

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