Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by Prime Minister of Lichtenstein, H.E. Mr. Adrian Hasler

September 11, 2019

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CZECH « PERSONALITIES OF THE THIRD REICH » CALENDAR : CONDEMNATION IS MEANINGLESS IF SUCH ITEMS ARE NOT BANNED, SAYS EUROPEAN JEWISH HEAD

«Such items have no place in civil society, especially in a country that suffered so much under the nazi jackboot » - Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
As a storm erupted in Czech Republic diplomatic circles over the publication and sale of a calendar depicting « personalities of the Third Reich, the head of the Brussels based European Jewish Association said that in a time of rising antisemitism, condemnation was not enough and Czech authorities must ban all and any items that glorify the horrendous actions of the Nazis.
In a statement Rabbi Margolin, the Chairman of the European Jewish Association said :
«I find it incredible that a country that suffered massacres under the hard jackboot of the Nazis, and whose soldiers and airmen heroically fought the third reich from exile, would even countenance having such an item to buy in their country.
« The publisher states that there is demand for such items. We heard similar words from an auction house in Munich that was selling Nazi memorabilia in 2019. This is not an excuse.
« Words of condemnation whilst welcome are meaningless. The sale of such items is not only disgusting and an affront to the millions that perished under nazi ideology, but is very, very  dangerous in times of rising antisemitism. It glorifies murder, empowers those who hate the « other », and trivialises each and every abhorrent act undertaken by Hitler and his henchmen.
« I urge the czech government, for the sake of decency, for the honour of their fallen heroes and to send a messgae to Jews in the Czech Republic and across the world, to outlaw and ban the sale of any and all nazi memorabilia. »
you can read more about the story HERE

Europe: Preparing for Passover in the shadow of Corona Crisis

Alongside logistical challenges European Jews face anti-Semitic propaganda that attributes the Corona epidemic to a “Jewish conspiracy.”
In the shadow of the Corona crisis, and much like most of the free world, European Jews have also been in quarantine for a number of weeks and have been trying to preserve a Jewish lifestyle as much as possible as well as prepare themselves for Passover with a growing shortage of kosher products. But alongside the logistical challenges and the impact on the daily life by the required isolation practices, European Jews are also facing anti-Semitic propaganda that attributes the Corona epidemic to a “Jewish conspiracy”.
In France, posts on social networks with anti-Semitic cartoons portraying the Jewish former French health minister, Agnès Buzyn, as responsible for the Corona epidemic have gone viral among far-right groups in the country. The Jewish community in Belgium is also reporting an increase in anti-Semitic discourse on the social networks.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA): "Unfortunately, the usage of international crisis to promote anti-Semitic agendas is nothing new. The EJA Virtual situation room, which we established at the beginning of the epidemic, receives daily reports of logistical difficulties from Jewish organizations and community leaders, but unfortunately also anti-Semitic voices that attributing the virus to a Zionist-Jewish conspiracy."
Rabbi Margolin also mentions that despite the difficulties and the closure of much of the borders, the EJA managed to send over 100,000 kits of matzah and kosher groceries for Passover to hundreds of Jewish communities across the continent: "Despite the severe crisis, Jews are responsible for one another and practice “arvut hadadit”. There are hundreds of students and volunteers - members of Jewish communities from all over Europe who are purchasing food and medicines for those in need and distributing it in their communities.
Naturally, the Jewish community in Italy has experienced the greatest difficulties so far. David Liscia, The President of the Jewish Community of Florence and Simone Santoro, member of the Jewish Community of Turin, Italy, point out that: "Due to the precarious and difficult situation in Italy, each of us, from the Jewish communities stays at home. With that, we make efforts to ensure that Jewish life is continued in the best possible way. In the morning kindergarten teachers gives live lessons to the children, while in the afternoon there are Talmud, and Torah lessons as well as Passover lessons in order to be able to maintain a proper Seder in isolation. Some of the smaller Jewish communities do not have a kosher supermarket or special stores for Passover. We usually buy all the commodities in bulk and sell them to community members. This year of course it was not possible - so we try to arrange groceries for everyone, which is not easy. We also deal with the problematic economic situation like the rest of the country."
In Spain, which stands next to Italy as the country most severely affected by the Corona virus so far in Europe, the Jewish community, which has been quarantined for three weeks, works hard to preserve Jewish life. The President of the Jewish Community in Madrid, Leon Benelbas says: "The Jewish community in Spain is working to strengthen community solidarity. The Jewish School in Madrid continues to work through digital platforms that allow students to continue studying history, Judaism, and Hebrew. We also use the ZOOM platform for collective prayers and rabbinic classes, at least twice a day. At the same time, the “EZRA” organization organizes grocery deliveries to all the Jewish families who are in need, and it is important to note that the “Kadisha company” continues to perform burial ceremonies according to Halacha requirements, and so far we are taking all precautions according to the administration's instructions.
The Jewish community in the Netherlands is also facing difficulties as a result of the quarantine. Anne Ornstein, member of the Amsterdam Jewish community: "Older people can no longer receive visits in order to prevent infection - a directive that profoundly affects those people in the Jewish community and we are organizing groups of young members from our community to help the elderly by volunteering. Like every other city in Europe, the synagogues are closed, and someone told me that this is the first time since World War II that this is happening. We are also preparing ourselves for Passover with the "Make Seder yourself" initiative of Chabad and other Jewish communities in the Netherlands to make sure that people who lives alone or families in need will everything they need for Passover Seder. "
Oliver Bradley, an activist in the Jewish community in Berlin: "The Jewish community in Berlin is not suffering like all other Jewish communities in Europe because there is still no full closure and no long queues at the supermarket. The Jewish supermarket in Berlin has been full of kosher products for Passover two weeks ago, and many Jews have already stocked up with supplies for the holiday season. You can't tell what will happen in the future. Of course, schools are closed, most kindergartens are closed (open only to children whose parents work in necessary jobs), but as mentioned, that can change at any moment. "
The article was published on Arutz 7

Lithuanian Tourism Chiefs Condemned for ‘Immoral’ PR Stunt in Ongoing Fight Over Jewish Cemetery

The head of Lithuania’s Jewish community has strongly condemned a government-sponsored publicity stunt that showed hundreds of chairs marked with fake 1,000-euro notes lined up outside a state-of-the-art convention center that is being constructed on top of a Jewish cemetery.
Simon Gurevich — chair of the Jewish community in the capital Vilnius — told local broadcaster LRT that the display staged by tourism agencies was “immoral,” as the chairs had been stacked “over the heads and bodies of the people who created the ‘Jerusalem of the North,'” invoking a term that was often used to describe Vilnius, then known as Vilna, before the Nazi Holocaust.
Jewish activists and human rights groups have spent the past three years opposing the government’s construction of the convention center on the site of the Old Šnipiškės Jewish Cemetery, where thousands of  graves are buried beneath the surface.
Last Friday’s display at the site was organized by Lithuanian tourism chiefs as a mocking response to the continued delays in the construction of the convention center, with the fake cash intended to symbolize the amount of money allegedly being lost because of the continued protests of Jewish organizations and others.

An overwhelming bipartisan majority of the US House of Representatives on Monday called for the extension of the United Nations...

According to Defending History — a specialist website that monitors and analyzes the official depiction in contemporary Lithuania of the country’s Jewish past  — Friday’s widely-reported display may have been the result of a photoshopping exercise, rather than an actual event.
One of the site’s reporters asked a contact at the Vilnius municipality “about whether the city’s permission had been given. The employee, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Of course it was virtual, photoshopped, but reported in the press release as being on the ground, in order to wind up the Jews so they will go crazy about their so-called cemetery.'”
Commented Defending History: “Whether on the ground or the web, this is one of the most disturbing manifestations of ‘elite antisemitism’ in Eastern Europe in recent times. Besides the humiliation of thousands of buried from the minority annihilated in the Holocaust, there is the classic antisemitic trope associating ‘Jews and banknotes,’ alongside the insinuation that only a convention center at this location can bring back the tourist industry after Covid-19.”
Local officials insist that there is no other appropriate site for the convention center, which is being presented as a major boon for the tourism and hospitality industry.
“We have been waiting for the Congress Center to be located in this place for many years, but in the face of the crisis, it is becoming critical for our sector,” Evalda Šiškauskienė, president of the Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association, told local news outlets over the weekend.
The Article was published in the Algemeiner

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
 
Vaccine loses to the Minister
 
Today my eyes fell on Michel Waterman's column in the NIW in which he writes: “I have to hand in my column today and I don't have a subject yet. I can tell you that my admiration for columnists who produce on a daily basis has greatly increased.”
After reading this I flattered myself wondering if that compliment was meant for me. And so the question arose in my mind: Am I a rabbi or a columnist? But then I also thought back to that psychotherapist who saw my diary as a therapy. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that my diary is a combination of 1: rabbi 2: columnist 3: therapy.
 
And so Waterman's compliment was not addressed to me. A pity, because every now and then I do need a pat on the back (with the elbow of course, because of corona!), Especially when I'm under fire again.
 
A somewhat out-of-context headline made a few front pages, after which people responded. That was great because it means I don't write for deaf ears - my message gets through.
 
What almost bothered me was that a (foreign) colleague, who apparently has little else to do than follow my diary, got in touch with a non-Jewish journalist to protest against the (admittedly clumsy) headline.
 
It went through my mind to send him a WhatsApp with my phone number. Then at the next opportunity he can first make a phone call before turning a molehill into a mountain. But I did not send that WhatsApp and I am not going to send it. Reason?
I Learned from the conversation between Avraham and Lot about which was read last Shabbath in all the synagogues of the world: “A strife arose between the herdsmen of the flocks of Awram and the herders of the flocks of Lot.... Then Awram said to Lot, Let there be
 
no strife between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds.... if it is to the left, I will go to the right, if it is to the right, then I will go to the left (Bereshis/ Genesis 13: 7-9).
 
Why, we may ask, did Abraham leave the choice to Lot? The area, later Israel, was nevertheless the property of Avraham. G-d had promised him this piece of land. He could have shown Lot that he had the best papers!? If we take a grammatical look at the Hebrew
 
text, we see that the Hebrew word for contention is the first time in the masculine form and the second time in the feminine form. Quarrels arise most quickly between people who spend a lot of time together. So,the most appropriate place for disputes is marriage! How do we handle this? Should the man try to be right? Should the woman stand firm?
 
The best way to deal with (marital) differences of opinion is: accept! And that is why the word twist is once in the feminine inflection and once in the masculine. Avraham understood that he could have been right with Lot, but also realized that it is better to just let the adversary, Lot in this case, have his way.
 
And so I will not approach my old colleague on this and when we meet again, just pretend my nose is bleeding! Therapeutically (3) I have written it off with this one, I have made a column (2) of it and, most importantly, I have learned (1) from our patriarch Abraham!
 
So, what we notice is that people are often unable to see and / or think outside their own limited cocoon. Such a thing is called egotosm, a consequence of the idol ‘I’.
 
And that problem is unfortunately frequently encountered in our society and can be very harmful.
 
Dr. Marcel Levi, medical director of ten London hospitals and the son of my former president of the Sinai Center, believes the corona vaccine should be administered now. But the British Minister does not want that yet because perhaps one in 50,000 could suffer from an adverse reaction because the vaccine has not yet been 100% tested. Levi explained to the Minister that even if one in 50,000 gets an unwanted side effect, it is still worth using the vaccine now as it can prevent hundreds from becoming infected with corona and a general lockdown of society. severely dislocated.
 
The Minister responded to this, according to the newspaper that Dr. Levi quoted that if hundreds die from corona, he, the Minister, will hardly be blamed. But if even one person falls victim to the vaccine he has approved, he will be inundated with criticism. The British Minister is thus also a follower of the idol ‘I’, like my colleague, except that the behaviour of the Minister, G-d forbid, causes people to die, but the behaviour of my colleague has a positive result: a topic for my day!
 
 

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