A delegation from the European Jewish Association met with newly appointed Prime Minister Dritan Abazović and Minister of Justice Marko Marko Kovač

May 18, 2022

Podgorica, Montenegro.

This morning (17 May), a delegation from the European Jewish Association met with newly appointed Prime Minister Dritan Abazović and Minister of Justice Marko Marko Kovač and representatives of the Prime Minister’s office including his Foreign Policy Adviser Mr Dorde Radulovic.

The EJA Delegation headed by Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, was organised by Chief Rabbi of Montenegro Ari Edelkopf, and included Mrs Ellen Van Praag, Chair of IPOR, Netherlands, Riccardo Pacifici, Senior Board Member of the EJA respresenting the Jewish Community of Rome, and Alex Benjamin, Director of the EJA.

The delegation came to congratulate the Prime Minister on his new government, extend invitations to collaborate and co-operate, and to underline how important Montenegro is to Jewish people across Europe for its support and development of a growing Jewish Community. Montenegro, whilst small in size, is a David when it comes to creating a society where freedom of Religion is not only encouraged, but actively supported. For the EJA Montenegro represents an exemplar for other European countries to emulate and aspire to.

The delegation also witnessed the official handing over of government documents to Chief Rabbi Edelkopf from the Minister of Justice of Montenegro formally recognising the Jewish Community of Montenegro.

Additional Articles

Germany establishes an anti-Semitism commissioner

Responding to the decision (for the full article please go HERE) , The head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in a statement:

“With a worrying rise in anti-Semitism across the European Continent, we can only applaud the German government’s decision to appoint an anti-Semitism monitor. Germany is fully aware of what can happen when anti-Semitism is allowed to ferment and grow. Their decision is therefore timely as well as courageous. It is not an easy thing to acknowledge that the oldest hatred, that many believed to be a defunct ideology never dies but just remains dormant, waiting for populism and nationalism to feed it and breathe new life into it.

‘The EJA has been at forefront of raising awareness of this rising threat across Europe, and we are delighted that the principal drivers of Europe, the German government have taken this initiative. It now falls on other European states to follow this inspiring lead and set up a European wide network of monitors to eradicate the poison that is anti-Semitism directly at its source.”

BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 18: Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble speaks at a memorial ceremony for late former Bundestag President Philipp Jenninger in the Bundestag plenary hall on January 18, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Jenninger served as Bundestag president from 1984 to 1988. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

 

Update on the Red Lines

Yesterday our Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin rounded off a busy day of meetings on our ‘Jewish Red Lines’ with a very productive meeting with His Excellency Mato Skrabalo, Croatia’s Permanent Representative to the EU. Ambassador Skrabalo undertook to report back to Zagreb on our behalf, and intervene with the Prime Minister. We thank him for his time and commitment to the concerns of European Jewry. Hvala vam pulo!

Words for Rosh HaShanah by Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi

The shofar has no reason.
But it contains a sign: Wake up! (Maimonides)
If you want a livable society there has to be legislation. Because without rules the theory of people living together in peace is not going to work. Ideally this would not have to be necessary, but our society is far from ideal. And so, we see that in every country, in every city and in every group in which people live together rules are made to make the society livable. Because if we wouldn’t…
But it is not as simple as that. Because laws made by people are subject to change and can lead to quite the opposite of livability. Over the years laws are adapted, changed. What is criminal and unacceptable in country A, is ridiculous and exaggerated in country B.
Some time ago we received a journalist from Moscow as a guest. We were debating during the shabbat meal and since he sounded pretty pro-Russian, I asked him how he feels about the oligarchs who because of their large financial strength more or less define the law. In my point of view rather corrupt. But it is accepted and these multimillionaires are treated with a chronic respect. I find that difficult to accept!
The journalist looked at me a bit sheepishly and instead of answering he asked a counter-question, which is a good Jewish custom. When I got off the train at the Central Station in Amsterdam, he began talking, I saw men selling drugs under the police’s condoning eyes. Drugs that can only come onto the market through exploitation and degrading trade. How can your Dutch people, was his question, accept this just like that?
The journalist was right: what is acceptable in society A, even instinctively, is corrupt in society B. And so, it is a good thing that societies make laws to create a livable climate, but there is also a risk attached to this man-made legislation. Because when man starts to determine what is right and what is wrong, we have a problem. Are extramarital relations acceptable? Years ago, that was not done, but nowadays in our so-called modern civilized society … We stand up for women’s rights and rightly so! But we use these same women as inducement to focus attention to a certain product. And we accept the exploitation of imported women who have nowhere left to go, female slaves!
Judaism knows three kinds of laws: (1) Laws we obey to commemorate certain events. During the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) we live in a sukkah to commemorate the forty years in which our ancestors lived in sukkot after the Exodus from Egypt. (2) Laws that make sense, like the ban on stealing. This kind of legislation must exist to avoid chaos.
But Judaism has a third kind of law: Chukim (decrees). Laws that transcend rational reason. These laws are obeyed exclusively because God expects this from us.
“This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded” (Numbers 19:2). And then the text continues and presents the completely incomprehensible legislation of the red heifer. With the ashes of the red heifer the unclean is cleansed and the priest performing the ceremony becomes unclean because of the action!? It doesn’t make sense.
But apart from this inconceivable legislation: why does the text say “This is the law of the Torah?” It should have said “This is the law of the red heifer!” But because this incomprehensible law is called the law of the Torah, the Torah declares that reason cannot be the basis of any law. Every law, also the law we do understand, has to be obeyed because G’d desires that of us and not because we understand it. And then such a law is independent of the trend that dominates society at that particular moment. Because it may be that we find some laws rational and comprehensible, but with regard to standards and values there is no logic.
What was completely unacceptable yesterday is one hundred per cent normal tomorrow!
The Halacha is the collective body of Jewish religious laws which is full of logic, taking into account circumstances and situations, it is absolutely not black or white, and constantly moving. But at the same time, it is plain that man is too small to determine the law himself. Standards and values are fluctuating all the time. What was totally unacceptable fifty years ago, is normal today. And what we find normal today, our grandchildren will experience as primitive and incomprehensible.
But why looking at ancestors and grandchildren? My Russian journalist cannot comprehend the policy on drugs in our country and it is beyond my comprehension that in Russia oligarchs are hoisted up into the air, while we live in the same age.
And that is precisely the message of the shofar.
A message reaching far beyond legislation.
Maimonides teaches a vital lesson for life at the beginning of the New Year:

  1. There is no logical reason why we should sound the shofar on Rosh Hashana
  2. But there is a sign hidden in the shofar: wake up, repent.

Primarily we have to realize that life is incomprehensible, we need to accept!
And when we are thoroughly aware of that, only then we start to try and understand as much as possible!
With this thought we start the New Year.
A Shanah Tovah, a good and healthy 5780
Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi

A new memorial tombstone on a mass grave of Jews in the City of Sadigora, Ukraine

The Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) has unveiled yesterday morning a memorial tombstone on a mass grave of  the Jewish community of the City of Sadigora in Ukraine, that were slaughtered in 1941 by gangs of Ukrainians and Romanians that were granted “24 hours to do what they wanted with the Jews” by the Russian Command
“We played together – all of the children and suddenly our Jewish friends began to disappear”
RCE General Director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg:
“We are in the midst of an extensive operation to detect and establish tombstones on other mass graves of Jews who were slaughtered in Ukraine”
Israels ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon:
I call upon the new President of the Ukraine and Members of the Rada (parliament of Ukrain to adopt the Anti-Semitic definitions of the IHRA
Thursday, July 25, 2019, Ukraine, The Jews of Sagura in southern Ukraine, near the border with Romania and Moldova, thought that the Russian army’s victory over the German Nazi army during the fighting in the region in July 1941,  was the end of the war, and the end of the attacks on them by the Romanian Army who controlled the area and cooperated with the Nazis.
However, the Russian command allowed local Ukrainian and Romanian gangs a “24-hour window to do with the Jews as they will”. The relief sensations of the Jewish community of the region became a murderous nightmare: “We played together – all of the children and suddenly our Jewish friends began to disappear one by one” said this morning in a trembling voice, an elderly Ukrainian woman who was present at the time of the acts during the unveiling ceremony of the tombstone established by the  Rabbinical Center of Europe over the mass grave in which , about 1,200 Jewish children women and men were murdered and burried – some of them when they were still alive.
The mass grave and the hidden testimonies were found in part by Rabbi Mendi Glitzinstein of the nearby city of Chernivtsi who harnessed the RCE in order to establish a headstone on the mass grave. The unveiling ceremony that took place this morning, saw the distinguished presence of the district’s Governor, Eiom Vasilovitz, , Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon, RCE General Director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, Chief Rabbi of the nearby Jewish Community of Jetimore and Western Ukraine, Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, members of the small Jewish community who survived  the massacre and Ukrainian neighbors, some of whom testified how they could feel the “earth burning underneath their feet” even days after the terrible massacre took place.
RCE General Director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, said during the ceremony that the Rabbinical Center of Europe,  and its over  700 rabbi Members across the continent,  took this very important mission upon itself  and is now in the midst of an extensive operation of  locating and establishing tombstones on other Jewish mass Graves in the Ukraine. “We collect evidence and testimonies as much as possible from elderly Jews and Ukrainians who still remember. We than locate the mass graves and only after a team of experts confirms the findings, we establish tombstones for the memory of the victims.”
RCE and EJA Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, made it clear that the special activity for locating and establishing tombstones on the tombs of the victims was held in parallel with the effort to further and renew Jewish life throughout the Ukraine, as well as the restoration of synagogues and mikvehs.
Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon who carried the Kaddish prayer in the ceremony, thanked the RCE for the initiative and its implementation in the field, and said that the embassy was conducting a special program for training Ukrainian teachers on how to teach the  lessons of the Holocaust in schools throughout the country. I call upon the new President of the Ukraine and Members of the Rada (parliament of Ukrain to adopt the Anti-Semitic definitions of the IHRA
 

 

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