We at the EJA are proud to announce that Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs has accepted our invitation to head up our Committee for Combatting Antisemitism.
As Chairman of the Committee, Rabbi Jacobs will be our roving ambassador, working with other local EJA committee co-ordinators across the continent, identifying the local issues and the challenges relating to antisemitism faced by communities and advocating at the highest levels of government, both at a bilateral and EU institutional level, to find solutions and enact changes to safeguard Jewish life and practice in Europe.
The EJA places this fight at the top of our agenda. Such an important issue requires a person who is respected, who has gravitas, and who understands the mechanisms and personalities involved in the political process, as well having a forensic and thorough knowledge of the Jewish issues at hand.
So, when we envisaged the creation of this Committee, the natural and obvious choice was Rabbi Jacobs to Chair it. We have long admired his skill in advocacy in his native Holland at Eerste and Tweede Kamer’s in the Hague and at local Dutch administrative level.
We are delighted to share this important appointment with you and we look forward to sharing news with you about the Committees actions and outcomes in the near future.
The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Milo Đukanović, President of Montenegro, for His Excellency’s kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Peretz, head of ZAKA France, alerted the Jewish community, saying that “we are counting bodies, and you are still debating the quarantine measures.”
“We are in difficult times, we have a very hard job as we take care every day of the Jews who died as a result of the virus,” he added. “It is very difficult to describe the situation with what we face here every day.”
Rabbi Peretz said that important Rabbis from the community are among the victims.”Last Saturday, Rabbi Touboul, head of the Beit Hanna and Chaya Mushka schools in Paris, some of the largest Chabad schools for girls in Europe, died suddenly,” he said.
“We worked to fulfill Rabbi Touboul’s will to be buried in Israel. We were able to reach an agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Health, we received very strict instructions on how to treat the deceased according to Jewish law and the Health Ministry guidelines in order to bury him in Israel.”
Rabbi Touboul was buried on Tuesday at the Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem.
ZAKA’s French head also added that tonight, a French aircraft will land at Ben Gurion Airport, carrying three coffins with the bodies of Jews who died in France from the coronavirus to be buried in Israel.
Among them will be Rabbi Hamou, a major rabbi and community leader of the Mekor Chaim community in Paris, who fought for his life for about a week in the hospital.
In the statement ZAKA begs the Jewish community in France, in Israel, and around the world, to stay home.
“Please, for your own benefit and for your families, apply the Ministry of Health guidelines to stay home, to stay alive,” ZAKA said.
Actualité Juive, a major Jewish newspaper in France, asked in a recent report if the Jewish community is over-represented among those infected with the coronavirus in the country.
“There was, without any doubt, a certain skepticism in the community,” recognized the Chief Rabbi of France Haïm Korsia. “At first, people may have thought that the risk could not exist in their immediate family,” he added.
But today, the Jewish community has realized the emergency of the situation and the importance of staying at home, according to Actualité Juive.
The article was published on the JPost
The Hellenic Council of State banned kosher and halal slaughter on Tuesday. Kosher and halal preparations of animals are central to Jewish and Muslim religious practices.
Both practices require animals to be killed without being anesthetized. The Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation requested that the court annul an exemption in a law that allowed religious slaughtering practices to take place without anesthetic.
The courts ruled that the religious preparation of animal products did not outweigh those animals’ welfare, and decided that the exemption was a violation of the law’s requirement to slaughter animals with anesthesia. The court has left it up to the government to regulate the relationship between animal rights and religious freedom, and they will preside over the country’s slaughterhouse practices.
Many Jewish people are speaking out against the court’s decision, calling it an infringement on their religious freedom. European Jewish Association (EJA) chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities.”
The EJA believes that the court’s decision is following a precedent set last December by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which gave EU nations the ability to ban kosher slaughter in support of animal welfare while also allowing for religious freedom for affected religious groups.
The decision allows members of the EU to make their own decisions about how to follow animal welfare guidelines while allowing people to practice their religions. But the EJA believes that “it is now clear” that member states are leaning heavily in favor of animal welfare and neglecting religious groups.
“As early as last December we warned about the dangerous consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling, and now we are seeing the result,” Margolin said. “It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and it is now Greece’s turn. These direct attacks come from many of those governments and institutions that have vowed to defend their Jewish communities.”
“What we are witnessing is first-rate hypocrisy,” he said. “When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our beliefs and customs are attacked right and left by laws, they are nowhere to be seen.”
Margolin said that the EJA plans to air their grievances at the highest level of the Greek government, hoping to get engagement and dialogue about how they can practice their religion comfortably in Greece. The EJA leader considers the issue of high importance, as food preparation and slaughter practices are central parts of both Jewish and Muslim religions.
“How can Jews live in Europe if you continue to legislate against us?” said Margolin.