European Virtual Yizkor for Virus Victims: Minister of the Diaspora, Omer Yankelevich and the Chief Rabbis of Israel come together to honour the diaspora dead

July 8, 2020

"The Jews of Europe have had to deal daily with the Fallout of the virus but also with anti-Semitic plots and threats of cuts in the security budgets of Jewish synagogues and institutions," said Rabbi Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association who initiated the event.
 
Jewish communities across Europe have been severely affected by the Corona epidemic and challenges associated with lockdowns.
 
The Jewish death toll is estimated to be in the thousands. Community leaders say that in many cases the strict rules in place prevented many Jews from attending the funerals of their loved ones, and estimated that a significant number of Jews had died and were buried in civil burials as a result of the restrictions in place.
 
In order to enable European Jews to mourn and share the memory of their loved ones, Rabbi Menachem Margolin initiated the launch of a virtual Yizkor event in memory of Jewish corona victims via Zoom.
 
Omar Yankelevich, the Chief Rabbis of Israel and dozens of Jewish community leaders and rabbis from across the continent were in attendance.
 
The event also saw JNF Chairman Danny Atar announce that a tree will be planted in memory of each of Europe’s corona victims.
 
During the event, Diaspora Minister Omer Jankelevich greeted those present on behalf of the Israeli government, stating that: "we share pain, the diaspora’s pain is our pain and we in Israel know that our pain is also yours. We must mourn but we must also rebuild. And it is time for concrete actions. That is why I am heading up a 100,000 shekel fund to help support Jewish development in the diaspora, to deepen our shared bonds.”
 
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rishon Lezion, Yitzhak Yosef reminded that “G-d when he asked Moses to count Israel, he didn’t want just numbers, but names. The letters of G-d are in every name, and every one of us is special. When we mourn, G-d mourns too. We must find our strength, in our names, so interwoven with G-d to overcome, to deepen our commitment to Judaism, and to honour our loved ones.”
 
President of the French Consistoire Joel Mergui and Paris Chief Rabbi Michel  Guggenheim that “we have all carried a heavy burden. And we have cried at the loss, but also at our inability to embrace and support each other because of quarantine and lockdowns. We owe it to those who have passed to ensure that we do what we can to ensure that our synagogues will be packed as we approach the high holidays, that we show them the honour that comes from our strength to continue and to come back to our houses of prayer, stronger, more resilient and with a renewed determination to ensure a Jewish future.”
 
Belgian President of the Jewish Community of Philip Markiewicz:
 
“We suffered tremendous pain, but there was also tremendous solidarity, amongst our communities but also as society as a whole towards our communities and vice-versa. The Jewish contribution to society must continue, it must deepen. We must do this for our shared future full of optimism and hope, but also to honour the memory of our loved ones.”
 
Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin,
 
"The Corona epidemic has severely damaged many Jewish communities across Europe but has strengthened our belief that we all look out for and after one another.
 
Along with dealing with the terrible crisis, we have witnessed daily the strength of the Jewish spirit and the countless acts of kindness within Jewish communities across the continent. And so, this memorial event is on the one hand a commemoration of the  many victims of the virus and on the other is to honour, strengthen and cherish the resilience and fortitude shown by Europe's Jewish communities. "

Additional Articles

The Flemish parliament voted Wednesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning from 2019.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---The Flemish parliament voted Wednesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning from 2019. The animals will be slaughtered after being irreversibly stunned, for example via an electrical anesthesia, the parliament decided. The Jewish community denounced an attack on freedom of religion which is protected by Constitution and by EU rules. 

An exception remains for cattle and calves. Pending a more developed technique, post-cut stunning will remain in effect, a stunning immediately after the slaughter.
Slaughterhouses now have a year and a half to adapt their infrastructure and train their staff in these new practices. Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts said he is pleased with the vote and called Flanders ''a leader in animal welfare in Europe.''
Another Belgian region, Wallonia, has also voted a similar legislation.
Shechita, the Jewish ritual slaughter, requires that butchers swiftly slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood.
The Jewish community in Belgium has slammed the Flemish and Walloon regions given their clear repercussions for the community.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association (EJA), a Brussels-based group representing Jewish communitiers across Europe, has accused lawmakers of targeting Jews and said the decisions ''have a strong stench of populism.'' 
''This is a direct attack on Jews and our practice when it comes to slaughtering. When it comes to the mass market slaughterhouses, where mistakes frequently affect up to 10% of all animals, meaning they die in an awful painful death, compared to shechita, the kosher slaughter,  where the suffering of the animal is kept to the most minimum levels possible,'' he said. ''It  quickly becomes apparent that this decision is not about health or animal welfare. It simplly represents the politics of division,'' Rabbi Margolin added, stressing that ''we will fight this latest decision wih all legal and political means at our disposal.'' 
CCOJB, the representative body of Belgian Jewish organisations, regretted the Flemish parliament vote and its consequences on Jewish ritual slaughter. ‘’Wallonia and Flanders are sending a wrong political message to the citizens of our country because these laws do not respect the European rules on this matter,’’ said CCOJB President Yohan Benizri in a statement.  ''This vote intervenes despite numerous juridical and moral objections that have been put forward these last months as this measure indirectly bans ritual slaughter.''

Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by President of the Montenegro, H.E. Mr. Milo Đukanović

Danish parliament to consider becoming first country to ban circumcision of boys

There is too much emphasis on the parents' religious and cultural rights'

The Danish parliament is to consider whether to become the first country to ban boys being circumcised after a petition forced lawmakers to debate the issue.

A citizens’ petition that called for the introduction of a minimum age of 18 for circumcision to protect “children’s fundamental rights” reached 50,000 signatories on Friday, taking it beyond the threshold at which it must be discussed in Parliament.

The debate should take place in the autumn, after the Danish parliament reconvenes, but it is highly unlikely that the bill will pass into law since the government appears to be opposed to such a course.

“We’d be all alone and the first country in the world to go in that direction. That’s our objective analysis,” foreign minister Anders Samuelsen told Altinget.

“It makes us vulnerable and it means that the allies who normally help us in a precarious situation, will, in this situation, not be by our side.”

The defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, also appeared unenthusiastic.

“I think the political risk is enormous,” he told reporters, going on to cite fears that the issue could provoke outside interference: "One may risk that it suddenly begins to explode on social media."

Other parliamentarians, however, were in favour of a ban.

“It will put children’s rights ahead of their parents’ religious rights,” said Naser Khader, the spokesman on human rights and legal affairs for the Conservative Party, a junior partner in the governing coalition.

"There is too much emphasis on the parents' religious and cultural rights,” Khader said.

“For me, it is the main children's rights [which are paramount]. We have been a pioneer country in many other areas, for example, we have been first movers of homosexuals' rights and we have been proud. Not [with] children's rights,” he added.

Proponents of boyhood circumcision say that the removal of the foreskin can reduce the risk of fatal diseases like cancer, but the claims are contested.

However, its prevalence is largely due to religious traditions within Islam and Judaism that revolve around the ideal of cleanliness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the health benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks but not by enough to recommend universal male circumcision.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors should educate infant boys' parents about the health benefits of circumcision, which it says reduces the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Lena Nyhus of the group Intact Denmark told The Associated Press on Saturday that her children's welfare organisation believes "we need to respect a person's right to decide for themselves" on a possible circumcision when they become an adult.

Around 30 per cent of men across the world have been circumcised, according to a 2007 World Health Organization report.

A recent poll commissioned by Danish TV2 broadcaster found that 83 per cent of respondents supported such an age limit on circumcising boys.

However, the proposal is unlikely to pass since none of Denmark's main political parties support it.

Earlier this year, Icelandic lawmakers initially backed a plan to ban circumcisions for minors and to give those who performed the procedure possible jail sentences. But after an outpouring of criticism, including from European Jewish leaders, the proposal was dropped.

The article was published in the Independent

הולנד לאוניברסיטאות: "דווחו על כל קשר בין עובדי אוניברסיטאות לישראל ולארגונים יהודיים".

עמית ולדמן | צ׳אט הכתבים
הולנד לאוניברסיטאות: "דווחו על כל קשר בין עובדי אוניברסיטאות לישראל ולארגונים יהודיים". הרב הראשי של הולנד, בנימין יעקבס, העומד גם בראש הוועדה למאבק באנטישמיות של איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה : "מדובר בדרישה המדיפה ריח רע ביותר של אנטישמיות ומזכירה את הדרישה מראשי ערים בהולנד למסור מידע על יהודים לכובשים הגרמנים בזמן השואה"
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