EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION IN EUROPE-WIDE CAMPAIGN TO HOUSE JEWISH REFUGEES FROM UKRAINE

March 23, 2022
Initiatives connects fleeing Ukrainian Jews with Jewish homes across the continent for temporary shelter. Association is also providing pick up of clothing.
As the war in Ukraine enters a second week, Europe is witnessing a huge influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine towards the West. Naturally many Ukrainian Jews are included in this surge to safety.
The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn-apart and up-ended by the conflict in Ukraine.
The appeal has gone out to Jewish Communities from Lisbon to Lublin, Bucharest to Bordeaux and everywhere in between.
Speaking after launching the campaign, EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said,
“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war. We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up-and-leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. From generations ago from Spain or Galicia, from the war, to emigrating to Israel. I say this because we are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbours, just as we always have.
“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Additional Articles

State of Israel must enact a law against auctions of Nazi items'

The European Jewish Association (EJA) is drafting an injunction against a shameful auction by an Israeli auction house, “Pentagon,” that offers the highest bidder, among other things: “A postcard of a Jew with a Nazi stamp on his face. rare!!! At an opening price of $50.”
The description of Item 162 reads, “An original canvas film of an employee in the gas chambers of the Dachau concentration camp at an opening price of $500,” and, “A postcard of a Jew with a Nazi stamp on his face. rare!!! At an opening price of $50.”
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, addressed the Minister of Justice and The Chairman of Yad Vashem, saying, “The State of Israel must enact a law against auctions of Nazi items!”
Rabbi Margolin emphasized: “Despite the shock we all felt with the previous sale of Nazi tattoo stamps used on the arms of Auschwitz prisoners, here again, to our shame, I am forced to address you in a hurry and with a deep sense of shock to request that you act immediately to prevent another shameful auction of Nazi items by an Israeli auction house.”

He added, “At the European Jewish Association, EJA, we work resolutely and steadily both in the continental countries and with EU institutions to prohibit the trade and auction of Nazi items for profit. We are working closely with heads of state, ministers, and senior parliamentarians in EU countries to prevent the trivialization and promotion of Nazi heritage by putting such despicable items up for sale to the highest bidder. However, shamefully, it turns out that in the Jewish state, the State of Israel – again, there are those who want to tout these items and sell them to the highest bidder.”
“In response to my previous letter, it was noted that things were being taken care of, but unfortunately, your eyes see, instead of recoiling from the negative public echo, there are those who see it as a ‘sales promotion.’ It is time to act to stop such auctions by enacting legislation.”
“Of course, we are at your disposal to help formulate a legislative framework that will end this despicable phenomenon of making money in brazen contempt of the memory of the Holocaust and the memory of those who perished, not to mention the feelings of the survivors,” Rabbi Margolin wrote
https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/319070

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

#NeverMeansNever campaign for Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah is when Israel and many diaspora Jews honour the memory of those who lost lost their lives in the Holocaust.
This year, given the extraordinary circumstances that we find ourselves in with the coronavirus outbreak, we are proud to help our partners at the European March of the Living in promoting their powerful and important plaque campaign.
Each of you can create your own plaque by clicking on the link here below that will be printed and placed on the railway tracks at the entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau. You can do so here: https://nevermeansnever.motl.org/

or on the special mini-site in collaboration with the Jerusalem Post: http://marchoftheliving.jpost.com
And please join all the “virtual”marchers of the March of the Living in honoring those lost in the Holocaust and in committing yourselves to the fight against antisemitism and racism by declaring on your plaques: #NeverMeansNever or by posting your personal message.
You will also find the link to this campaign on the European March of the Living website: www.emot.eu

Fussballclub Chelsea mit Preis gegen Antisemitismus geehrt

Der Londoner Fussballverein Chelsea FC ist mit dem diesjährigen King David Award gegen Antisemitismus ausgezeichnet worden. Der Club erhielt den Preis bereits am Dienstagabend im Vorfeld des Champions League Spiels gegen Juventus Turin im Londoner Stadion Stamford Bridge, wie die European Jewish Association (EJA) am Mittwoch mitteilte.
Massgeblich für die Auszeichnung war demnach die Kampagne „Nein zu Antisemitismus“, mit der der Verein seit 2018 für ein besseres Bewusstsein für Antisemitismus bei Spielern, Mitarbeitern und Fans beitrage. Das beinhalte auch die Zusammenarbeit mit internationalen und nationalen jüdischen Organisationen. Die Initiative geht auf den Clubeigentümer, den russisch-jüdischen Oligarchen Roman Abramowitsch, zurück.
Oberrabbiner Benjamin Jacobs, Oberrabbiner in den Niederlanden und Vorsitzender des Ausschusses zur Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus bei der European Jewish Association, sagte: „Das Chelsea-Modell sollte überall nachgeahmt werden. Wir wollen Ihnen Danke sagen. König David ist ein jüdischer Held. Chelsea ist jetzt ein Held für die jüdische Gemeinschaft. Wir sind stolz und erfreut, den König-David-Preis für das Jahr 2021 an den Fussballverein Chelsea zu verleihen, und wir danken Ihnen von ganzem Herzen für alles, was Sie getan haben.“
Die schlimmsten Beispiele antisemitischer Hetze fänden sich nicht selten in Fussballstadien, erklärte der EJA-Vorsitzende, Rabbi Menachem Margolin. Dagegen gehe Chelsea anders als viele andere jedoch aktiv vor. „Es ist wirklich beeindruckend, nicht nur die grosse Mühe zu sehen, die der Verein hier investiert, sondern auch den aufrichtigen Einsatz dafür, zuzuhören, zu handeln und so einen Unterschied zu machen“, so Margolin. Chelsea sei damit ein Vorbild „nicht nur für andere Fussballclubs, sondern für alle“.
https://www.audiatur-online.ch/2021/11/24/fussballclub-chelsea-mit-preis-gegen-antisemitismus-geehrt/

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