Chanukah is here. It’s the time of the year when we come together with our loved ones to celebrate the miracle of the Maccabees by lightning the menorah.
In many cultures, light symbolizes positivity and hope. We all know this year was not easy, to say the least, for many people around the world and specially here in Europe. This Chanukah we have the opportunity to join our lights together, to share the hope and faith for a better future for all of us.
As the famous Jewish song say: “each of us is a small light and together we are a mighty light”.
We invite you all, Jews and non-Jews to join us this Chanukah in choosing hope, and focussing on the the bright and good. Together we will spread our light throughout Europe!
To join us you simply need to take a picture (or a video) of yourself lighting the candles (or just your Menurah) during the 8 days of Hanukah (10-18 Dec) and post it on social media with the hashtag #LightingEurope.
Purim is approaching and we are happy to announce our Mishloach Manot handout to the community has begun.
Free shipping and handling- while stocks last.
Order your Mishloach Manot here: https://purim.eu
Chabad Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz was walking home from shul with his children in Offenbach, Germany when they were confronted by a man screaming antisemitic invective. But he found a sweet spot in the incident.
A German rabbi warmly praised his fellow citizens in the city of Offenbach for rushing to his aid when he and his family were subjected to antisemitic abuse on New Year’s Day.
Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz, Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Offenbach Am Main, was walking home from synagogue with his children last Friday when they were confronted by a man screaming antisemitic invective.
Several witnesses to the assault immediately called the police, while others followed the assailant as he left the scene.
Police officers later arrested a 46-year-old man for sedition, hate speech and displaying symbols of far-right organizations banned under the German constitution.
Rabbi Gurewitz, who has faced antisemitic abuse on previous occasions, wrote in a post on Facebook that the experience on Friday had been “traumatic,” but that the response of witnesses to the attack had been exemplary.
“People intervened from every window, shouted at the aggressor, defended us, and notified the police,” he wrote. “Some left their homes and followed him on foot or by car. It was a sudden explosion of love and support.”
Uwe Becker — the antisemitism commissioner for the Hessian region — condemned the attack on Rabbi Gurewitz and his children, saying it was a worrying indication “that Jews cannot openly display their faith in public.”
Becker added that the witnesses who came to the rabbi’s assistance showed a determination “to protect their Jewish neighbors and not just allow hatred of Jews to manifest.”
“This is an important sign that everyone can do something against antisemitism,” Becker said.
Antisemitic attacks in Germany in 2019 increased by 13 percent on the previous year, with more than 2,000 incidents reported. Antisemitic conspiracy theories relating to the coronavirus pandemic mushroomed during 2020, leaving the Jewish community vulnerable to abuse and violence in both online environments and in the physical world. Read More
I stopped worrying about current anti-Semitism. Just fiveminutes I forgot about the anti-Israel propaganda which I see and hear daily around me. I was standing in a serene silence for those five minutes in front of the Children’s Monument, het Kindermonument, in former Dutch concentration camp Vught.
“One thousand two hundred and sixty-nine children were put on deportation trains with the Kindertransport on June 6 and 7 in 1943. A few days later they arrived in extermination camp Sobibor. Upon arrival they were brutely removed from the cattle wagons, driven to the gas chambers via the Himmelstrasse, the Street to the Heaven, as the Nazi scum jokingly called this street. Were they aware of the atrocities which the Nazi’s had planned for them? When did they realize that from the showers heads no water would come out but a deadly killing gas would emerge? How long did they suffer before they souls were forced to leave their young bodies? Didthe SS men, who watched through a few skylights, enjoy the sadistic spectacle?
The names of all those children are engraved on the Children’s Monument in National Monument Kamp Vught. Only a very few photographs of a few children still exist. Most children are reduced by the industrial killing machine to a just name,without a face.
Why are we commemorating yearly the Children-Deportation, the Kindertransport? In order to prevent? Is this monument akind of educational project?
Yes, the Kindertransport is commemorated every year, but not to teach, not to warn, not even to prevent!
When I unveiled the monument in 1999, people came forward from the audience after the ceremony. They searched through the names, found and, full of tenderness, love and with tears in their eyes, I saw them putting their hands on the name of their sister, their brother, their child or their grandchild. But the names of most of the children stayed untouched, because thebrothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, fathers and mothers of those children had also been murdered.
One thousand, two hundred and sixty-nine names. Lonely names, letters without faces, without family, as if they never existed. Through the chimneys of the Sobibor crematoria they disappeared into an invisible darkness. Anonymous, completely unknown, no one to think of them anymore. Just letters, a very few damaged photographs, as if they never existed.
Let us close our eyes and think in absolute silence of thechildren of the Kindertransport, who stayed on this earth for such a short while, were so cruelly snatched, and of whom nothing, absolutely nothing, has remained.
No grave, no ashes, just a name. Names without meaning, because no one today is able to remember whose life and suffering is behind their names.”
New year message from EJA Chairman for Rosh HaShanah:
5780 (2020) was undoubtedly a watershed year for all of us.
The pandemic has upended our lives, caused many of us heartache and loss, and has pushed many struggling communities close to the edge.
And yet we sat at Seder tables , we carried on as best we could, as we always have done. We looked after each other, we reassured, lent words of comfort, engaged in physical acts of help and support…in short, we remain hopeful and true to who we are and the role entrusted to us by the Almighty.
It is in this continuing spirit that we welcome in 5781 – the Jewish new year- this evening.
We remain hopeful, positive and optimistic as we turn a new page, and we pray for better days ahead.
From all of us at the European Jewish Association, we wish you, your families, your loved ones a hopeful, healthy, happy and successful new year.
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European Jewish Association
It’s a challenging time for Jewish communities in Europe. Anti-Semitism is on the rise as populism and the politics of the lowest common denominator are gaining traction. Our communities often need round the clock protection and our practices and customs such as keeping Kosher are under pressure from increasing political interference.