Iceland adds Judaism to list of state-recognized religions, life-stance groups

March 22, 2021

Organizations recognized as representing a community may benefit from church tax which the government collects from every citizen
The Interior Ministry of Iceland has added Judaism to its list of state-recognized religious and life-stance groups.
The move earlier this year means that Icelandic Jews may register themselves and their children as belonging to the country’s Jewish community, Chabad.org reported Thursday.
Organizations recognized by the state as representing a community may benefit from Iceland’s church tax, which the government collects from each person older than 16. It’s about $100 annually. Iceland has about 200 Jews.
The country has about 50 recognized religious groups. Church tax collected from those who are not registered as belonging to one of those groups goes toward the promotion of higher education and science.
“When we moved to Iceland, we knew that recognition was important to our community, and we were determined to make it happen,” Rabbi Avi Feldman, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Iceland, told Chabad.org. “This is a story decades in the making.”
Feldman and his wife, Mushky, moved to Iceland in 2018.
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#NotOnMyWatch: EJA Annual Campaign for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

The response to our Holocaust Memorial Day Campaign was humbling. The message of memory and vigilance resonated across the political and civic society spectrum. We take the opportunity to share with you an album with the many messages of support for European Jewry and condolences in remembrance, and thank all of those who took part.


To see all the picture from our campaign go to : https://www.ejassociation.eu/events/notonmywatch-eja-annual-campaign-for-the-international-holocaust-remembrance-day-2019/

EJA Congratulate Mr. Iulian- Alexandru Muraru MP

We at the EJA had the pleasure of sending our heartfelt congratulations directly to Mr. Iulian-Alexandru Muraru MP who was recently appointed as the Special Representative of the Romanian Government for Promoting Memory Policies, Combating Antisemitism and Xenophobia.
Mr Muraru joins a growing roster of special representatives in Europe tasked with combatting antisemitism. The EJA have been advocating heavily for as many positions as possible to be filled to this end across the continent and are delighted that Romania has taken such an important step.
We very much look forward to a fruitful cooperation with Mr Muraru and we stand ready to provide assistance. We likewise eagerly look forward to meeting Muraru with when the ongoing conditions allow for it.

Addressing anti-Semitism in schools: UNESCO and OSCE launch framework curricula for teacher trainers

UNESCO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE-ODIHR) are publishing new resources for teacher trainers, titled Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula. Launched online on 24 November (5pm CET), the publication responds to an alarming rise in anti-Semitism, which is threatening the security of Jewish communities and individuals around the world.
The publication reflects the view that education plays a crucial role in raising young people’s awareness of anti-Semitism and helps them resist the harmful messages of hate speech. In 2019 alone, anti-Semitic hate crimes increased by 13% in Germany and 14% in the United States, for example. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a new wave of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, while studies in the United States and Europe show a marked increase in Holocaust denial and distortion, both on- and off-line.
Supporting educators in particular, UNESCO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) are publishing new resources for teacher trainers, titled ‘Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula’. The publication will be launched online on 24 November at 17.00 CET.
Recognizing that schools are not immune to messages and acts of hate, UNESCO and ODIHR’s new publication prepares teachers and school directors to resist anti-Semitism through education and to address it when it arises in an educational environment. Divided into four distinct volumes, the publication includes targeted curricula for trainers of teachers in primary, secondary and vocational education, as well as school directors. The resources were developed with the support of the University College London Centre for Holocaust Education, as part of ODIHR’s Turning Words into Action to Address anti-Semitism project and within the framework of UNESCO’s programme on Global Citizenship Education.
The curricula follow a human rights-based approach and provide pedagogical knowledge and concrete activities, designed to strengthening learners’ critical thinking, understanding, and rejection, of anti-Semitism, prejudice and discrimination. Each volume includes a comprehensive list of good practices as well as examples of scenarios and methodological suggestions. Adding to the publication, the USC Shoah Foundation UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education is developing a website that will link the curricula to existing online teaching resources.
The new publication is based on UNESCO and ODIHR’s 2018 guidelines for policymakers on Addressing anti-Semitism through Education. In 2019, the guidelines informed a series of capacity-building workshops, which reached policymakers from more than 60 countries.
The online launch on 24 November will feature statements by Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, Officer-in-Charge of ODIHR, Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education, and German Ambassador Michaela Küchler, who holds the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Chair. A panel discussion will focus on The role of education in addressing antisemitism with the participation of Maram Stern, Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, Sharon Nazarian, Senior Vice President of International Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Stuart Foster, Executive Director of the University College London Centre for Holocaust Education. It will be moderated by Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education. The framework curricula will be introduced by Ruth-Anne Lenga, Programme Director, and Arthur Chapman, Associate Professor in History Education of the University College London Centre for Holocaust Education.
The article was published in MirageNews

Rabbis Decide to Unilateraly Sell Chometz of Europe’s Jews

At the request of European rabbis, Israel's Chief Rabbi David Lau is adding a clause in the chametz sale contract that will be selling the chometz of all Jews in the diaspora, even if they didn't do it themselves.
The Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) recently conducted a practical Halacha class as part of their virtual shiurim channel on the topic of Erev Pesach falling on Shabbos.
Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau told the rabbis that “the Chief Rabbinate of Israel will include chametz of Jews in the Diaspora who are not aware of the chametz sale contract, as per the request of the European rabbis.”
Rabbi Lau praised the initiative of the Rabbinical Center to provide the translation of the European Jewish community chametz sale in English, French and Hebrew online.
The shiurim channel was launched in memory of Rabbi Binyamin Wolff OBM, Chabad Shliach in Hanover, Germany, who passed away this past year. The virtual classes provide the continent’s rabbis a way to connect the study at a time when travel is restricted due to the pandemic.
During the Shiur, Rabbi Lau answered many questions, among them the issue of selling chametz to a non-Jew. Rabbi Lau consented to the rabbis’ request and promised that the text of the chametz sale contract appointed by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate will include a clause stating that the sale will also apply to every Jew who has chametz in the Diaspora.
“As the deadly pandemic has taken toll of many lives, the Shiurim channel turned into the current replacement for the various conferences and professional seminars held by the RCE during the year for rabbis in various cities across Europe,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the RCE.
Director-General of the RCE Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg stated his satisfaction with the variety of classes and practical Halachic shiurim that were delivered and will be delivered within the framework of the Shiurim channel.
But it isn’t only with selling chametz that the Rabbinical Center of Europe is occupied with.
In collaboration with the European Jewish Association, 100,000 packages of Shmura Matzah are being distributed to hundreds of communities across Europe. Each kit was professionally wrapped and packaged to prevent the Matzot from cracking.
The logistical operation was conducted under the supervision of the RCE’s Deputy Director-General, Rabbi Yosef Bainhaker, and Rabbi Yehuda Reichman, head of the BASSAD organization which executed the project with great devotion.
The Matzos were distributed to over 560 European Jewish communities. The kits were delivered to Rabbis and community leaders who will distribute them just before Pesach.
This particular operation had a goal of ensuring kezayit size of handmade Shmurah Matzah will reach all Jews in the various communities of Europe. Working with postal and government officials, they were successful in ensuring that the sealed packages arrive despite the pandemic.
This is not the first logistical operation conducted by the Rabbinical Center of Europe together with Rabbi Reichman. Before Sukkos and Chanukah this past year, the organization helped distribute the four species and menorahs across Europe to hundreds of families.
“Due to high public demand for matzah, it was decided that despite the heavy expenses involved, an effort would be made to supply any quantity of matzah that would be required to the various countries ensuring that there would be matzah everywhere,” said Rabbi Margolin.
In addition, a special kit has been distributed for the children of the communities, enabling Rabbis and Rebbetzins to teach the children about the Mitzvos of Pesach, beginning from the general observance of Pesach till the practical details of each Mitzvah.
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