EJA Zoom Conference with Jewish Communities Across Europe

April 27, 2020

It was our pleasure today to host a zoom conference with Jewish communities from all across Europe to share with each other the difficulties and how we are coping under #COVID19 just before the Pesach holidays.
we would like to thank:
Rabbi Arie Goldberg, Director General of the Rabbinical Center of Europe -RCE
Daniel Kapp (Austria), Member of the Advisory Board
Ellen van Praagh (The Netherlands), Member of the Advisory Board
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (Netherlands), Chief Rabbi of the Intern-Provincial Chief Rabbinate of the Netherlands
Dr. Emil Kalo (Bulgaria), Member of the Advisory Board
Dr. Ferenc Olti (Hungary), Member of the Advisory Board
Pascal Markowicz (France), Member of the Advisory Board
Fernando Rosenberg (Spain), Jewish Community of Barcelona
Konstantinos Karagounis MP (Greece), Member of the Advisory Board
Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny (Belgium), Member of the Advisory Board
Rabbi Zevi Ives (Belgium), ECJS (European Center for Jewish Students)
Maximillian Marco Katz (Romania), Member of the Advisory Board
Joël Rubinfeld (Belgium), Member of the Advisory Board
Saskia Pantell(Sweden), President of the Zionist Federation of Sweden
Leon Bendahan (Spain)
Hanna Luden (The Netherlands), Director at CIDI – Centrum Informatie Documentatie Israel
Diana Sandler (Germany), President of the Jewish Community of Barnim
Szalai Kálmán (Hungary), Secretary of the Action and Protection League – APL
Edward Odoner (Poland), Vice-President of the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland
Rabbi Köves Slomó, Executive Rabbi of EMIH – Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation

a note about our next zoom conference will be published on our Facebook page

Additional Articles

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Annual Rosh Hashanah Celebration: Embracing Sephardic Culture and Unity at the European Parliament

The European Jewish Association and partners the European Jewish Community Centre held their annual Rosh Hashanah celebration in the European Parliament.

Hosted by MEP Jose Ramon Bauza Diaz, our theme was a celebration of Sephardic culture and its contribution.

Amongst the Special Guests at the European Parliament were David Hatchwell, the Founder of the Fundacion HispanoJudia, H.E Haim Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the EU and Nato, and Katharina von Schnurbein, the EU’s Co-ordinator for Combatting Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life.

With MEPs, Diplomats and many friends and supporters in attendance, the evening was a great success.

European Jews face new threat in wake of COVID-related anti-Semitism

Top European rabbi tells Israel Hayom a special center to monitor real-time incidents via remote feeds could be established in order to tackle anti-Jewish attacks.
The recent terrorist attacks in Austria and France, as well as the spike in coronavirus cases in Europe, has created a fear among Jews in the continent that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the spread of the pandemic could become mainstream.
 
A recent study in Germany showed that one in three Germans has somewhat of a conspiratorial view of the world.
 
Felix Klein, who is the federal commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism, told Israel Hayom that the recent protests against the COVID-19 regulations have become fertile ground for anti-Jewish sentiment.
 
“The current protests against corona-related restrictions serve as a rallying point for antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and believers in conspiracy myths. At “hygiene protests”, participants downplay the Holocaust by, for example, comparing the current requirement to wear a face mask with the obligation to wear a Star of David during the Nazi regime,” he told Israel Hayom. “Portraying themselves as rebels – as do for example the supporters of the new political party Widerstand2020 (Resistance2020) and the Reichsbürger movement – is typical of adherents to anti-Semitic beliefs: Presenting oneself as breaking taboos, as ‘finally’ bringing the truth to light, as showing at last who is pulling the strings behind the scenes – and, as has been done for thousands of years, pointing their fingers once again at Jews,” he added.
 
When asked about the danger posed by such conspiratorial views, he noted that there is a concern verbal statements could eventually morph into action.
 
“Conspiracy myths also prepare the ground for violence, as history has shown. Those who perceive themselves as victims and feel threatened can themselves turn into a threat. Anti-Jewish pogroms throughout history have been the fatal consequence of such obsessive hatred of Jews, as have the antisemitic terrorist attacks worldwide in recent years,” he said. “A recent study has shown that radicalization online takes place four times faster than offline. That is what makes it so important to quickly adjust our laws. This is the thrust of the package of measures put forward by the federal government. I am confident we can achieve a lot through a combination of repression and education. After all, what is ultimately at stake is social cohesion in times of crisis.”

Meanwhile, Jewish groups have scrambled to deal with the threat of rising anti-Semitism in the age of coronavirus. The group “Concert – Together for Israel” strives to bolster Israel’s image and fight modern anti-Semitism, says its job has been made much more difficult in the wake of the pandemic, and many pro-Israel groups are facing potential elimination.
 
“Generally speaking, one can say that small organizations that rely on a small staff expect a slowdown and a long recovery, but the big organizations that need a large operation worry about their long-term viability in light of the added costs,” Nava Edelstein, the group’s program director says.
 
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association that has led a comprehensive effort to counter anti-Semitism in Europe, told Israel Hayom that he has been overseeing a “virtual command center” that gets daily updates from Jewish communities on online anti-Jewish attacks.
 
“We constantly see how anti-Semitic voices on the web attribute the virus to a Zionist-Jewish conspiracy, on top over other forms of anti-Semitism that involve graffiti and vandalizing of Jewish institutions,” he said, adding the largest volume of reports originates in France, Romania and Belgium.
 
“We are considering setting up a center that would monitor events through Jewish communities’ video feeds in real time, so that we can alert security forces when such incidents happen,” he revealed.
The article was published in Israel Hayaom

Which European countries are best for Jews? A new study offers unexpected answers.

BUDAPEST (JTA) — Antisemitic sentiment is especially prevalent in Italy and Hungary, according to multiple surveys. But a first-of-its-kind index combining different measures of Jewish experience found that they are also the best countries in Europe for Jews to live in.

The index, unveiled Monday, is based on a study that combines polling data and policy information to create a single quality-of-life metric for Jews in the 12 European Union countries with sizable Jewish communities, according to Daniel Staetsky, a statistician with the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research who wrote the report for the European Jewish Association in Brussels.

“The goal with this report is to take the excellent data we already have about how Jews feel, about how prevalent antisemitism is, and combine it with government policy measurables,” Staetsky said during a conference held by the European Jewish Association in Budapest.

He said the results may challenge preconceptions about which EU countries are most hospitable to Jews. For example, Germany scored high when it came to government policies relating to Jews. But Jews there report a weak sense of security, leading to an overall middling score.

The index is primarily a tool “to demand concrete action from European leaders,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association. “We welcome statements against antisemitism by European leaders. But more than statements is needed.”

The European Jewish Association will make individual recommendations to each country surveyed, Margolin added at the press event. It was part of a two-day event sponsored by multiple Jewish organizations, including the Consistoire in France, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government, about how European Jewish communities can aid the one in Ukraine.

Titled “Europe and Jews, a country index of respect and tolerance towards Jews,” the study gives Belgium, Poland and France the lowest scores with 60, 66, and 68 points out of 100, respectively. The three top countries have 79, 76 and 75 points, followed by Britain and Austria (75), the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Spain (74, 73, 72, 70.)

To come up with the ranking, Staetsky gave each surveyed country grades on multiple subjects, including the Jewish sense of security, public attitudes to Jews and the number of Jews who said they’d expereinced antisemitism. The grades were based on major opinion polls in recent years, including those conducted by the Action and Protection League, a group that monitors hate crimes against Jews in several European countries, and the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency.

The study combined those scores with scores the author gave to countries’ government policies, including their funding for Jewish communities, whether they had adopted a definition of antisemitism, and the status of Holocaust education and freedom of worship.

Under that scoring system, Germany received an overall score of 72 despite having the best score (89) on government performance on issues related to Jews and a solid 92 when it came to the prevalence of antisemitism. But a relatively low score on Jewish sense of security (46) hurt its overall score, among other factors.

In the case of Hungary, “the score it received reflects the reality on the ground,” according to Shlomo Koves, the head of the Chabad-affiliated EMIH umbrella group of Jewish communities in Hungary. “Jews can walk around here, go to synagogue, without the slightest fear of harassment,” he said.

But the prevalence of antisemitic sentiments in Hungarian society — an Anti-Defamation League survey from 2015 found that about 30% of the population hold them — “shows there is work to be done here, too, in education and outreach,” Koves said.

This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

New Jewish European campaign seeks to house Jewish refugees from Ukraine

“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, EJA chairman. “We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up and leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. We, the Jewish people, are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbors, just as we always have.

“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started, Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin the chairman of EJA (credit: EJA)Rabbi Menachem Margolin the chairman of EJA (credit: EJA)

Another European Jewish organization very active on the ground is the Conference of European Rabbis, which announced this week that Israeli technology investor Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to the CER to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

“As we witness the terrible human suffering in Ukraine, the Conference of European Rabbis would like to announce a special donation of $3m. from the foundation established by Yuri and Julia Milner,” said the conference. “Yuri is an Israeli technology investor and science philanthropist.”

The emergency funds will support humanitarian efforts to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine who, like so many vulnerable civilians, are in need of urgent assistance.

“The CER is grateful to Yuri and Julia Milner for their long-standing support and for this latest commitment to the Jewish community at this perilous time,” said CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/article-700758?fbclid=IwAR2yLD2JGbS7tCP5k3V7SblC-mEcqpkkWByXPlxN0m8H2x8xnW0K8kTcsLs

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