COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

July 31, 2021

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.

For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Column NIW 38 GB
Sara wants to tell her husband something positive and something negative. What do you want to hear first, she asks him? Start with the good news, her husband replied. Well, Sara enthuses, your Lexus'airbags worked very well. After two weeks holiday of writing my diary, I also have something positive and something negative to say. I'll start with the negative. I had to go to England for a few days. The reason why is irrelevant, but I want to share the corona bombardment surrounding this trip. The ferry ticket was easily booked, but then the test circus started. I checked online which test is required to cross the sea. €130 PCR. Afterwards, the test of €39 turned out to be sufficient. I had to be at the test site at 11:05 am, preferable not earlier. I was there at 11:04, but had to queue until 12:15! Two days later, after lengthy paper statements about testing, whereabouts and quarantine, I was in London. Four times a day I got a call from the local authority asking how I was feeling and where I was. They also send inspectors to check us at the door every other day. And then back home again. I expected the return journey to be easy as I am Dutch and fully vaccinated. Mais non! I was bombed by text, WhatsApp and email by the Ferry company. I had to have an urgent reason, which officially falls under the exceptions, to be allowed to return home. My full vaccination was not recognized as I am entering Holland from England and I had to have a negative PCR test less than 24 hours old. The latter was a difficult one, because my ferry left at 11 p.m. So, I could only go to a test location the next morning, on the day of departure, but I would receive the results after 24 hours, not earlier. I was quite upset about it. It seemed like mission impossible. After a few days in England and five tests with negative results, I was back in Holland. At the border I was kindly welcomed by our Royal Military Police. I just had to show my ID. No test results and not even my app showing that I'm vaccinated. That friendly "welcome back to the Netherlands and have a nice" made me forget all threatening emails, text messages and WhatsApp’s in no time and therefore my quarantine after returning passed without any emotional problems. Which shows the importance of a few kind and
friendly words!

Additional Articles

Jewish group seeks to ban Israeli auction of Nazi memorabilia

A prominent European Jewish group on is demanding for Israel to ban an auction offering Nazi memorabilia, which is set to take place in the country.
The European Jewish Association filed a cease and desist letter on Wednesday against the Israeli auction house "Pentagon," which is offering several Holocaust-related items for sale to the highest bidder.

זוג גלויות נאציות שעומדות למכירה, החל מ-50 דולר

Nazi postcards from World War II on sale at the auction
(Photo: Bidspirit)
The auction includes items such as a Jewish passport, Nazi leaflets, Nazi stamps, as well as an Austrian Nazi cigarette box with a relief of an eagle emblem and a swastika, with prices ranging from dozens to hundreds of shekels.
Pentagon’s controversial auction comes weeks after Israel’s court suspended an unrelated auction of a partial tattoo kit billed as having been used on inmates at the Auschwitz death camp, following outcry from Holocaust survivors.
"The State of Israel must enact a law against auctions of Nazi memorabilia,” wrote the head of the EJA, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, in his appeal to both the Justice Ministry and Yad Vashem.
“My association is working with heads of state, ministers and senior members of parliament in EU countries, in order to prevent the cultivation of the Nazi heritage by putting such despicable items for sale at a high price.

סרט בד של עובד במחנה הריכוז דכאו הועמד למכירה

A canvas band of a Dachau concentration camp employee on sale at the auction
(Photo: Bidspirit)
“But shamefully, it seems that in the Jewish state of Israel, there are those who do not mind selling these items to the highest bidder,” wrote Margolin.
He further suggested a legislative outline to "end the despicable phenomenon of making money, while belittling the memory of the Holocaust."

גלויה נדירה של הצורר אדולף היטלר, החל מ-50 דולר

Postcard with Adolf Hitler on it
(Photo: Bidspirit)
The Justice Ministry has yet to provide a response to the EJA’s appeal.

New year message from EJA Chairman for Rosh HaShanah:

5780 (2020) was undoubtedly a watershed year for all of us.
The pandemic has upended our lives, caused many of us heartache and loss, and has pushed many struggling communities close to the edge.
And yet we sat at Seder tables , we carried on as best we could, as we always have done. We looked after each other, we reassured, lent words of comfort, engaged in physical acts of help and support...in short, we remain hopeful and true to who we are and the role entrusted to us by the Almighty.
It is in this continuing spirit that we welcome in 5781 - the Jewish new year- this evening.
We remain hopeful, positive and optimistic as we turn a new page, and we pray for better days ahead.
From all of us at the European Jewish Association, we wish you, your families, your loved ones a hopeful, healthy, happy and successful new year.
Shana Tova!
See Translation
No photo description available.

BELGIAN COURT DECISION TO BAN CENTRAL TENET OF JEWISH FAITH IS OPPORTUNITY FOR EUROPEAN COUNTRIES TO FULLY STAND BEHIND THEIR JEWISH COMMUNITIES

(Brussels 1st October 2021) Belgian Constitutional Court decision to uphold effective ban on Kosher slaughter is an opportunity for other European Countries to stand fully behind their Jewish Communities and protect this central tenet of faith and practice.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin adds that European countries must not fall into the trap of being ‘two faced: solidly protecting us from antisemitism on one side, whilst making it impossible for Jews to practice their faith by legislating against us on the other”.
The Belgian constitutional court on Thursday upheld a decision by the European Court of Justice banning religious slaughter without pre-stunning, thereby also upholding a similar decision by the Belgian Walloon and Flemish governments.
In a statement this morning, Rabbi Menachem Margolin - Chairman of the Brussels based European Jewish Association, a pro-Jewish advocacy organising representing hundreds of communities across the continent – lamented the move but said it provided an opportunity for European countries to show their support to Jews:
“The Belgian Constitutional Court have shamefully upheld a decision that is openly hostile to a fundamental pillar of Jewish practice.
“What gets to the Jewish Communities the most is the two-faced approach of some countries towards Jewish Communities. On the one side they are solidly supportive when it comes to the fight against antisemitism, on the other they have no difficulty in effectively legislating Jewish faith and practice out of existence.
“Worse still these countries are blissfully ignorant of this massive contradiction and its catastrophic effects on Jews across Europe. This decision, if replicated, is a real threat to Jewish life across Europe. Every bit as threatening as rising antisemitism, and in a sense even worse as it directly targets the very tenets of our beliefs. Now is the time for European Countries to stand behind their Jewish Communities and leave Belgium isolated and an outlier of how not to treat Jews”.
 

Greetings for Rosh HaShanah by President of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Dr. Denis Zvizdić

Additional Communities
United Kingdom
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Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
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Portugal
Poland