European Jewish Association startet Kampagne zur Unterbringung jüdischer Flüchtlinge aus der Ukraine

March 14, 2022

Nachdem der Krieg in der Ukraine in die zweite Woche geht, erlebt Europa einen enormen Zustrom von Flüchtlingen, die aus der Ukraine in den Westen fliehen. Darunter sind auch zahlreiche ukrainische Juden, die sich in Sicherheit bringen wollen.

Die European Jewish Association (EJA) mit Sitz in Brüssel, ein Dachverband, in dem mehrere hundert Gemeinden auf dem gesamten Kontinent vertreten sind, hat eine europaweite Kampagne gestartet, um vorübergehend Wohnungen, Lebensmittel und Kleidung für jüdische Familien bereitzustellen, deren Leben durch den Konflikt in der Ukraine zerrüttet und zerstört worden ist.

Der Aufruf wurde an jüdische Gemeinden von Lissabon bis Lublin, von Bukarest bis Bordeaux in ganz Europa verschickt.

Der Vorsitzende der EJA, Rabbiner Menachem Margolin, sagte nach dem Start der Kampagne: „Die Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes ist eine Geschichte der Vertreibung, sei es durch Pogrome oder Krieg. Wir wissen nur zu gut, was es bedeutet, wenn man gezwungen ist, von einem Moment auf den anderen zu fliehen. In fast jeder unserer Gemeinden werden Sie solche Geschichten hören. Von Generationen aus Spanien oder Galizien, vom Krieg bis zur Auswanderung nach Israel. Ich sage das, weil wir für diese Katastrophen besonders sensibilisiert sind. Und weil wir so sensibilisiert sind, sind wir dazu bestimmt, unseren jüdischen Nachbarn zu helfen, so wie wir es immer getan haben.“

Er fügte hinzu: „Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass diese Kampagne etwas bewirken wird. Seit Beginn des Krieges haben sich Juden aus ganz Europa an uns gewandt, um zu erfahren, wie sie ihren ukrainischen jüdischen Brüdern und Schwestern in Not helfen können. Wir geben ihnen die Möglichkeit, genau das zu tun, indem wir denjenigen, die in aller Eile und oft mit nichts als den Kleidern auf dem Leib das Land verlassen haben, Unterkunft, Essen und Kleidung anbieten.“

Additional Articles

Meeting with Mart Laidmets, Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia

Last week, on 7 November 2019, the European Jewish Association and our partners from the Action and Protection Foundation/ Hungary/ have gathered in Brussels to further advance ongoing work on the European Curriculum and Textbook Project against Antisemitism. Incidentally, the meeting took place just a day after a similar one in Riga, Latvia.
At the meeting, where the EJA has been represented by Alex Benjamin (Director of Public Affairs) and the APF by Szalai Kálmán(Secretary), we have met Mart Laidmets, Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia. The meeting took place at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Estonia to the European Union, with which the EJA has had the pleasure and honour to cooperate on at least several occasions over the past years.

Following a description of the earlier seven-year programme implemented in Hungary, its characteristics and outcomes, the Estonian system of education has been discussed – its gradual development over the past decades, international cooperation with foreign partners, realization of various EU programmes as well as transition to a web-based learning system at schools, which nowadays is one of the most advanced in Europe.
Mr. Secretary General has expressed, on behalf of the Ministry, interest in potential cooperation with us and promised to convey the information and proposal received to H.E. Madam Minister. In particular, prospects for collaboration on web-based learning materials shall be evaluated.
We are most thankful to Mr. Laidmets and the Ministry for this opportunity to meet and discuss the initiative, and eagerly look forward to further contacts on the present subject and others.

Words for Pesach by the Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin

The pandemic has upended so much of our daily lives, including the most sacred: our holy days.
Millions of Jews around the world will be celebrating Pesach this evening in ways that up until a few weeks ago was unimaginable, without family around them, without the bustling celebration around the table. It will of course be hard for all of us.
Of course, the irony of celebrating our holiday of freedom whilst we are in confinement due to a plague – the coronavirus, will not be lost on us.
And yet, even amongst this adversity, we are being given the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in a unique way, loaded with significance that can, in fact, bring us closer to the story of our exodus from Egypt. How?
Let us be honest, how many of us really appreciate what freedom means? In our modern lives the vast majority of us are free to come and go as we please. This pandemic has given us a flavour of what it is like to lose freedoms that we take for granted, and in the process brings us closer to our ancestors, who lost theirs under Pharaoh. It brings the holiday alive.
Truly both nights will be different from all the others, they remind us to truly appreciate the everyday blessings that the almighty bestows on us everyday, our families, our jobs, our friends.
I wish you, and your families a Pesach Sameach, and G-d willing next year in Jerusalem!

“You All Say ‘Never Again’, Make It So”, Urges Rabbi Menachem Margolin

AHEAD OF MUNICH AUCTION TOMORROW, EUROPEAN JEWISH CHIEF CALLS ON GERMAN POLITICAL LEADERS TO BAN SALE OF NAZI MEMORABILIA
AND PUT BUYERS ON WATCH LIST
“You all say ‘Never Again’, make it so”, urges Rabbi Menachem Margolin .
At 10am today morning (CET) a major Munich based auction house Hermann Historica is conducting an online sale of personal items such as cutlery sets, jewellery and signed letters and photographs belonging to the leadership of the Nazi Party – Himmler, Goring and Hitler himself among them.
European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem has written to the leadership of all of Germany’s mainstream political parties to put in place legislation that will ban the public sale of such items and – in the meantime – compel sellers to divulge the names of buyers so that they can be kept on government watch lists in the interests of public safety.
In his letter to all the political leaders, the EJA Chief suggested that the authorities would want to know who was buying the personal items of Osama Bin Laden, Anders Breivik or Stephan Ernst for public safety reasons, and those glorifying, sentimentalising or adulating the Nazis are every bit as dangerous.
Rabbi Margolin wrote,
“Almost every week we at the European Jewish Association are having to respond to attacks on community buildings and more worryingly still, physical or verbal attacks on Jews themselves. Alarmingly, it is Germany that leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported anti-Semitic incidents.
“Selling such items should be no different to selling the personal items belonging to Osama Bin Laden, or Anders Breivik. The argument of historical interest is pure semantics. As political representatives concerned with the wellbeing and safety of your citizens, we cannot help wonder if you would not want to know who was buying Bin Laden’s fruit bowl or Stephan Ernst’s photographs and why they would even want them.
“In waiting for a ban to be put in place, we urge the German authorities to compel auction houses to divulge the names of those who are buying such material, in order to know whose hands they have fallen into. The names should then be put on a government ‘watch’ list, for public safety.
“Six Million Jewish lives were lost during the Nazi regime. Today an increasing number of Jewish lives are being lost and more are threatened because of the “oldest hatred”.
“Politicians are wont to say ‘never again’. We urge you to make it so.”

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

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
Diary October 26, 2020
This is, and sometimes I forget the fact, a diary in corona time. I felt that ‘corona time’ particularly today. It is not only the nagging feeling of uncertainty, but also the media that never stop talking about it and, naturally enough, the discussion within the Jewish community itself.
Incidentally, that discussion taking place both within and outside of the Jewish community will be completely identical.
I think we have roughly three schools of thought on Covid 19. The ultra-orthodoxy, the moderates and the apostates.
Ultra-Orthodoxy almost compulsively adheres to the rules, does not take any risks and tries to convince others to live in isolation.
The apostates think everything is nonsense. Nobody knows anyway and you cannot prevent it, and it is all chronically exaggerated.
I count myself among the second school of thought, the moderates, who try to stay calm, not to exaggerate, but who refuse to downplay reality. But there was a crack this morning in that staying calm. And then what do I do? I WhatsApp’ed my professor. Who is my professor? The husband of a former student with whom I have regular contact about all kinds of things, but especially about legal matters. Just an example of such a contact: that former student of mine, now a middle-aged lawyer, has a bit of the same problem as I do.
She can’t say no! And so, when I have something on my mind again, I get her on speed dial.
Years ago, I met an old man who was quite young at heart. He looked like my grandfather in appearance. He was one of the few who survived Auschwitz as a child. He was friendly, easy-going, reliable. The kind of person I wouldn’t think twice about asking to bring € 100,000 in cash from A to B.
However, he had a tricky problem: he had a habit of stealing! Not just because, but only when he needed something. This is how he managed to survive Auschwitz.
After the war, as I have written before, the welcome-home-in-the Netherlands was not always warm (understatement!). His parents had been murdered, he had no family and he had no possessions, no roof over his head and no form of income. And so, if he needed anything, clothing or food, he continued his learned survival technique and had no qualms about stealing.
And now he got caught. He had, if I remember correctly, Fl. 4000 received from the WUV, the Persecution Victims Benefit Act (a fund paid in compensation by Germany for Dutch Jewish citizens who suffered under the Nazis), for the purchase of an electrically adapted disabled car. He had managed to get that car for Fl. 2000 (cash, no receipts) and the remaining Fl. 2000 he had put in his pocket. Busted! And so, a lawsuit. I engaged my former student and there we stood in the courtroom in front of three honourable people in togas.
At the request of the defendant’s lawyer, my former student, I was asked to say a few words at the very end of the trial. Your Honour, I can still hear myself say, of course theft is punishable. You have a duty to enforce the law. But do you realize that the same legal system that correctly indicates that the defendant did something against the law, do you realize that the same system sent him to Auschwitz?
And to the representative of the fund, who was present as plaintiff, I said that I refuse to understand how, as the body responsible for making amends, he would take it into his head (I had phrased it a little more sharply) to give this survivor the indignity of standing in court. The judges got it: immediate acquittal.
That former student is now a mother and married to a professor. And that’s my professor. We actually only know each other via WhatsApp and telephone, have never had any real contact, but he is now my point of contact for all information about corona. What is nonsensical conspiracy theory and what is correct. Where the boundary between ultra-Orthodox, moderate and apostate actually lies.
And so, this morning, when I was just at a low ebb and contemplating switching from moderate to ultra-orthodox, it just took a WhatsApp to my medical spiritual counsellor the professor, and see, I am one of the moderates again.
I do feel the link to the war strongly. I am beginning to realize that our Lockdown is in no way comparable to the two years and eight months that my father was locked up, without a laptop, without a phone, without any contact with the outside world that was life-threatening. I feel guilty that I never felt that. I now understand very well that my father, like almost all fathers of my generation, never mentioned their Lockdown.
They couldn’t and wouldn’t talk about it. After the death of my dear and sensible father, I wanted to talk to his niece, Aunt Wies, who was also at the same hiding address, about their period in hiding. Please, she said, don’t do this to me. I can’t and don’t want to think about it!
But because my professor, who is always available for me and regularly calls me back from the operating theatre, had put me back on the right mental track, I was able to quietly answer a number of phone calls from people who sought support from me. And there were more than usual today, unfortunately.

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