EJA in Jewish Community of Melilla

March 1, 2024

Our colleague Juan Caldes had the incredible opportunity to explore the vibrant Jewish Community of Melilla, sharing insights on combating anti-Semitism.

He also had the privilege to join the President of the Jewish community in a fruitful meeting with Vice President Miguel Marin and the Government of Melilla. Grateful for the chance to discuss important issues together!

Additional Articles

80 years after Babyn Yar massacre: tools to keep the memory alive, learn the lessons

For two days, September 29 and 30, 1941, 33,771 people were exterminated. More than thirty thousand of them were Jews.
A zoom press conference was dedicated on Tuesday to the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre ahead of an event “Lessons from Babyn Yar: History, Memory and Legacy” which is jointly organised by the House of European History in Brussels and the Kiev-based Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC).
The conference, organized in cooperation with the European Jewish Asociation, discussed lessons 80 years later, as well as unveiling new and unique tools to keep the lessons, history and memory alive, including actually putting faces and names to those murdered for the first time.
Among the speakers, French Father Patrick Desbois, founder of Yahad-In Unum and head of the scholarly council of BYHMC, stressed that Babi Yar was a criminal site where the genocide of the Jewish people took place in the center of a large city in a large country (Kiev, today Ukraine).
‘’The locals willingly aided the young fascists. The gunmen were given sandwiches and tea with little vodka in it as the mass executions lasted many hours,’’ he noted.
Father Patrick asked a practical question: where did the tons of items and valuables taken from the Jews before their execution go? ‘’It would seem that everything should be documented, but it is easier to find detailed evidence and statistics of the shootings than information about the confiscated property of those killed. It was as if the Germans were embarrassed to write about such facts.’’
He added, ‘’For me, this is another terrible evidence of the Babi Yar tragedy: human life is reduced to zero. It is only the result of statistics, nothing more. Even more terrible is that the USSR, on whose territory the tragedy took place, tried to hide the truth about Babyn Yar for a long time. Nevertheless, our generation has a goal: to find the hidden facts and restore the history of this bloody genocide.’’
“I visited Raka in Syria where there was a mass grave. Journalists came, journalists went. Perhaps in 80 years there can be a debate about what is a ‘fitting’ memorial. What is important is keeping the memory and lessons alive,’’ stressed Father Desbois.
One of the panelists, Marek Siwiec, Director of European Affairs at BYHMC,  provided information about many ongoing projects, each of which can contribute to the restoration of the truth about Babyn Yar.
Colossal work has been done: out of more than 33,000 dead, 28,428 names have been identified, and essential family and personal facts have been restored. All these invaluable findings became the basis of a vast program titled “Project Names.”
‘’It brought us closer to the real life of those who were shot at Babi Yar. They say that the death of one person is a tragedy, but the death of tens of thousands is a statistic,’’ said Siwiec, who is a former member of the European Parliament.
‘’Project Names’’ allows us to turn dry statistics into pain for everyone who was left in that terrible place, who did not live, who did not love, who did not leave their continuation on earth,’’ he added.
Another project mentioned by Siwiec, “Red Dot” (Red Dot Remembrance), is unique: more than 3,000 people provided information about the WWII war crimes. This app has so far registered 2,850 sites across of Europe of the ‘Holocaust by bullets’ which enables users to see and learn what took place wherever they are.
‘’These are mass extermination sites, eyewitness accounts, evidence supported by documents, which were kept with German punctuality and pedantry throughout the war,’’ explained Siwiec.
On the Babyn Yar massacre anniversary date of 29th September, 15,000 schools in Ukraine will participate in a “lessons of the Holocaust Day”.
‘’The key word underpinning all of our activities is education. It is only through education that the tragic disasters of the past can never be repeated,” said Siwiec.
Marek Rutka, a member of the Sejm, the Polish parliament, and chairman of the parliamentary group for the commemoration of the crimes at Babyn Yar and for a Europe free from genocide and hatred, explained that members of his political party  regularly visit the sites of the Shoah executions. ‘’They see heartfelt tragedies lead to politically literate conclusions about the need to talk about the Shoah on a European scale. There is no genocide without the tolerance of neighboring countries. These words can be taken as a motto for the whole debate.’’
Anton Schneerson, who contributed this article for European Jewish Press,  is a Ukrainian Jew living in Germany. The Jewish community of his hometown, Dnipro, managed to build one of the world’s most prominent Holocaust museum that deeply covers the Babyn Yar tragedy.
 
https://ejpress.org/80-years-after-babyn-yar-massacre-tools-to-keep-the-memory-alive-learn-the-lessons/

Interview with out Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Alex Benjamin

Watch an interview with our Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Alex Benjamin on Showcase, TRT World’s flagship arts and culture programme.
The market for Nazi memorabilia is growing fast. A recent auction grabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars for some of Adolf Hitler’s most prized possession. Buying and selling Nazi memorabilia is legal but controversial. And we look at whether a moral line should be drawn.

Major General Israel Ziv Briefing: Insights from Israel's Military Strategist and Defence Expert

Our colleague at EIPA hosted a briefing featuring Major General Israel Ziv, a prominent figure in Israel’s military strategy and defence analysis. With expertise in cross-border military operations, notably in Gaza and Lebanon, General Ziv has played pivotal roles in key events such as the Israeli disengagement in 2005. His contributions extend to formulating strategic agreements with the United States and advancing the IDF’s foreign relations. Beyond his military career, General Ziv actively engages in initiatives to address social issues like racial discrimination and contributes to sustainable development projects worldwide. He is widely recognised for his efforts in combating terrorism and providing invaluable insights into Israel’s defence landscape.

Proposed animal welfare bill in Poland is 'of deep concern to European Jewry'

Rabbi Menachem Margolin: “This draft law puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above freedom of religion, breaching a central pillar of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights.”

A proposed legislation in Poland to ban religious slaughter of animals for export “is of deep concern to European Jewry,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European  Jewish Association (EJA) on Thursday (1 October), writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
The so-called animal welfare bill, proposed by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has passed the Chamber of deputies or Sjem and now seeks approval in the Senate.
It could have massive ramifications for European Jewish communities as it would see a central and vital part of a Jewish practice, the shechita,  that has taken place for millennia trampled on and effectively wiped out – the access to and supply of kosher meat.
For European Jews, the legislation also carries with it multiple red and flashing alarms. History has repeatedly shown that the opening salvo in attempts to punish, ostracize, marginalize and ultimately destroy Jewish communities always starts with bans on central tenets of Jewish faith such as kosher laws and circumcision, before moving into much darker territory.
Animal welfare activists oppose the slaughter of animals for kosher meat because it precludes stunning before the animals’ throats are cut. Proponents of the practice reject claims it is cruel and say it induces a quick and humane death for the animal.
“This draft law puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above freedom of religion, breaching a central pillar  of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights,’’ said Rabbi Margolin in his statement.
In its Article 10, the charter states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion, belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
 The bill, noted Margolin “so alarmingly seeks to control and put a headcount on Jewish practice by giving the Minister of Agriculture the power to determine the qualifications of persons performing religious slaughter”.
The ‘schochet’, the person who is tasked with performing the slaughter undertakes years of ongoing training and is committed to, under strict Jewish law, ensuring that the animal undergoes the least suffering and stress as possible leading up to and during the slaughter itself, the rabbi explained.
He continued: “The draft law will also require a determination of the quantity of kosher meat needed by the local Jewish community. How is this to be done? by creating and supervising  a list of Jews in Poland”? This law, if passed, carries with it a dark and sinister undertow for Jews, a harking back to occupation, where practice and belief were initially targeted as first steps on the road to our eventual destruction.”
Poland is one of the biggest European exporters of kosher meat.
“European Jewry has enjoyed a fruitful and cooperative relationship with Poland as a principal supplier of kosher meat to our communities. Poland, in fact, is a central supplier to our needs. The question has to be asked, why now? To what end?” asked Rabbi Margolin, who urged  the Polish government, its parliament, its Senators and the Polish President to stop this law.
“Not only to uphold the values enshrined in the European Charter of fundamental rights protecting freedom of religion but to give a clear statement of solidarity that it will stand with and support European Jewry as an intrinsic part of Europe’s social fabric, and not sacrifice us, our beliefs and practice on the altar of politics,” Rabbi Margolin concluded.
The article was published on eureporter

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