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May 11, 2020

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Chief Rabbi Jacobs honours Armenian Genocide victims at dutch service

Why am I present at this commemoration? What does it matter whether or not the murder of innocent people more than 100 years ago is called or recognized as genocide? To answer that question, I self mirrored and questioned myself: How would I react if the existence of the Holocaust was denied or reduced to something small-scale? I would find this unacceptable.
I would consider that a painful and blatant insult to those who were murdered then and to the relatives of today. Recognition is important, as it somewhat relieves the pain of the gaping open traumatic wound.
But, even more importantly: no present without a past. Our youth must know the history and what happened in the past to avoid it from happening again. And could it happen again? I don't doubt that for a second.
But how could it happen? Were the killers all by definition just evil people? I do not think so. During the Holocaust in Holland the number of people that collaborated with the Nazi’s was only a small percentage. But also, the number of people who resisted and dared to fight evil was miniscule. As the famous historian Prof. Jacques Presser put it in his masterly work Ondergang: “5% were very good and hid Jews, 5% were very bad and sold Jews for Fl.7.50 and 90% turned their head”. The vast majority witnessed and saw it happen, chose the easiest way, even if that road led to the most degrading acts. Whether we talk about the Holocaust, other massacres in our modern history, or about the genocide on Arameans: it has everything to do with the pinnacle of intolerance and looking away.
Could the genocide of then happen again today? Do we learn from history? In my opinion, the only historical law that we can establish with certainty is that people never learn from the past.
Freedom of religion? Yes! Freedom of speech? Yes!
But if freedom of religion is unlimited and calls for the elimination of fellow human beings who think differently or who are different, then that religion or ideology must be strictly banned. And if freedom of expression implies that fellow human beings may be insulted and humiliated to the bone, then we as a society may not accept that, whether it takes place in the Netherlands or anywhere in the world. Extremist ideas are perilous, especially in a climate that is increasingly polarizing globally. And therefore, we as a society must refuse to bury our heads in the sand, have an eye for reality, learn from what happened in 1915. We must point out and teach our youth the dangers of polarization, racial hatred, intolerance, megalomania and genocide.
But is that the purpose of our meeting tonight? Is this meeting an educational project? Are we gathered here primarily to take a lesson from the past and translate it into the present? No!
This meeting started with a minute of silence. Remembering the victims. Men, women and children who were brutally murdered because others believed they should not exist. And I, as a Jew, I’am here to share with you that one minute of silence. I stand next to you, literally and figuratively. I am with you in solidarity!
Speech Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi, June 15th 2021, Enschede NL

The Intolerance of Demanding that Meat Slaughtered According to Jewish Ritual Be Specially Labelled

By Rabbi Menachem Margolin (05/02/2014)
Recent months have seen revived attempts by politicians, both in the European Parliament and as domestic level in various EU member states, to legislate on the sacred ritual tradition of Jewish animal slaughter. A September draft written declaration in the European Parliament called on the Commission to instigate special labelling for the meat of ritually slaughtered animals, to eliminate “misleading omissions liable to distort the transactional decisions of consumers”, whilst claiming that consumers should have the right to ensure the meat they are purchasing comes from animals that have been slaughtered with proper regard to animal welfare.
The Polish parliament dismissed a government-sponsored bill to protect the religious slaughter of animals, whilst their Lithuanian counterparts voted in legislation aimed at protecting the practice.
The ability to eat kosher meat is a fundamental right for all people. The fact is that many people prefer to eat kosher meat simply for health reasons, regardless of religious beliefs or considerations.
Of course, everyone must respect the public’s right to know; there is no question that it is fair and correct to require listing a food’s ingredients on the label. Nevertheless, it is clear that the calls of a number EU member states to label meat slaughtered according to religious ritual as such, sets off many alarms – history has shown that such demands have led to large-scale bloodshed (human, not animal blood).
Did these pluralistic liberals, before attempting to isolate their neighbours who subscribe to different lifestyle choices, ascertain whether or not traditional kosher slaughter causes more harm or abuse to animals, G-d forbid, than other methods of slaughter? Had they conducted that research, they would have discovered that countless objective authorities agree that religious slaughter – both by Jewish and Muslim doctrine – is the least painful method of animal slaughter. In fact, the Jewish kosher slaughter code requires that no less than thirteen steps be taken before an animal may be slaughtered. One of these requirements is to verify that the animal is not hungry or thirsty when it is slaughtered.
If those “enlightened” individuals were truly concerned about animal rights, they would declare war on all forms of slaughter. Animal rights are not guaranteed by disparaging one particular method of killing animals, whilst allowing others to continue unabated, including hunting or factory slaughter?
And if allowances must be made, considering most people consume meat top some degree, and our decision-makers choose instead to legislate on the most humane method of slaughter (is it humane to put a living thing to death in any manner?), they ought to worry about the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter. They should be concerned about ensuring
sufficient living space, quality and quantity of food, medications, comfort level during  transportation for slaughter, quality and wattage of the electric shocks administered for slaughter, the number of shots needed to kill an animal, and more.
The number of animals slaughtered each year according to kosher standards is less than 1 percent of those slaughtered by other methods. If the issue in question here is the public’s right to know, what logic is there in demanding that kosher meat be labelled, without addressing the 99.9 percent of the slaughtered animals in the country?
For the past 3,000 years, the Jewish people have had to deal constantly with innumerable attempts to infringe upon their freedom of religion – a liberty that has long been established as a basic human right.
As well as being illogical and inconsistent from the perspectiveof animal rights, labelling kosher meat will give ammunition to anti-Semites to attack Jewish tradition. It is very disturbing to note that people who claim to be enlightened liberals are advancing this motion. These people who present themselves as pluralists are, perhaps unwittingly, waging an all-out war against anyone who chooses to live differently from them.
In the 1930s, things began with the burning of books and ended with the burning of human beings. I shudder to think how this new discrimination, beginning with methods of animal slaughter, will end.

Sites where Germans killed Jews are dedicated in Poland

The Polish witnesses of the German crime in Wojslawice lived for decades with the memories of their Jewish neighbors executed in 1942. They remembered a meadow that flowed with blood, a child who cried out for water from underneath a pile of bodies, arms and legs that still moved days after the execution.
 

In the years that followed, those who had seen the crime shared their knowledge with their children, warning them to stay away from the spot behind the Orthodox church where some 60 Jews, among them 20 children, were murdered on that October day.
“When I was a young boy I was running around these meadows but the elders were saying: ‘please do not run there because there are buried people, buried Jews,’” said Marian Lackowski, a retired police officer whose late mother witnessed the execution in the small town in eastern Poland.
Born after the war, Lackowski has devoted years to ensuring that the victims receive a dignified burial, a mission he finally fulfilled Thursday as he gathered with Jewish and Christian clergy, the mayor, schoolchildren and other members of the town.
Beginning at the town hall, the group walked solemnly down a hill to the execution site, their silence broken only by roosters and barking dogs. After they arrived at the spot, church bells rang out from the town’s Catholic church and a trumpet called at noon. Jewish and Christian prayers were recited and mourners lit candles and placed stones in the Jewish tradition at a new memorial erected over the bones. “May their souls have a share in eternal life,” it reads.
The mass grave site in Wojslawice is tragically not unique. During the German occupation of Poland during World War II, the Germans imprisoned Jews in ghettoes and murdered them in death camps including Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. But they also shot them in fields and forests near their homes, leaving behind mass graves across Poland, many of which have only come to light in recent years.
 Read More:
https://www.ynetnews.com/article/bkrav99ry

Jewish communities under #COVID19

In these challenging times of #COVID19 , when we are all facing personal difficulties as well as community and global ones, the EJA is here to listen.
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