Black and white image of Simone Veil speaking at a podium. There is a quote from her in a large purple circle that reads:

Time is an image of eternity, but it is also a substitute for eternity. The miser whose treasure has been taken from him. It is some of the frozen past which he has lost. Past and future, man’s only riches.

Simone Weil



Ma’agal , מַעֲגָל meaning circle, is the first pan-European diasporist (up)rooted Jewish calendar. It is art, history, and a manifesto all rolled up into one. It is a celebration of Jewish time and its internal rhythms featuring holidays (the well known and the lesser known), cultural markers (of the past and present) and the waxing and waning of the moon. It’s also an effort to retrieve, excavate and reclaim the stories of our ancestors whose stories might have gotten disrupted, erased and buried over the years, but whose actions created ripples that are still being felt today. 

Ma’agal celebrates a Judaism that is diasporic, a peoplehood that is not bound to any nation state but rather through time, stories, faith, thoughts, books, foods and practices. Our calendar is rooted in Europe, a territory with moving boundaries, which encompasses the historical lands of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, and is the home to a diverse, vibrant, multiplicity of Jewish origins and practices. The stories we have chosen to highlight are those of the activist, the philosopher, the poet and the feminist. These figures are chattering loudly around us, they still have so much to say. And in the face of rising fascism and hate, it is a powerful act to reclaim a Europe that is full to bursting with Jewish, queer, radical, multi-cultural/lingual (hi)stories. 

It is haunting to encounter so many gaps during the writing and researching of this calendar. It is something we have had to sit with. In doing so, we have tried to find the right balance between honouring the memory of those we lost in pogroms and the Shoah, as well as clearly affirming that persecution is not the defining factor of Jewish European identity. We’re still here in all of our creativity, resilience, solidarity and joy.  

We have marked anniversaries of deaths  (yahrzeits), dates of birth and kick-ass days ( when Jews did things that changed the face of our continent). For the many folks whose day of death is untraceable, we marked their day of birth instead. When the exact date of an important event is unknown, such as the first printing of the Talmud in Venice (a kick ass moment), we actively chose a day to mark it. 

Ma’agal is a beginning, a continuum, it is imperfect. It is incomplete and will always be. May it be a forever and ongoing chevrutah within all our communities.


Le’hodot: to give thanks

We are so grateful to the incredible European Jewish artists who have made original art to accompany these Hebrew months. To the organisers behind this project, Lievnath Farber and Sophie Bigot- Goldblum, to our incredible think-tank : Tori Egherman, Yael Merlini, Dvir Shalem, and Sara Moon, to all of you who have supported Ma’agal.

UPDATE: A belated shout-out to the Radical Jewish Calendar for inspiration. Read more: Acknowledgments to the US-Based Radical Jewish Calendar