Jewish groups alarmed as Greece poised to ban kosher slaughter

October 28, 2021

The Hellenic Council of State, the highest court, in Greece, ruled on Tuesday to ban halal and kosher slaughter, raising alarm among Jewish religious groups concerned about infringements on religious freedoms.
saw the court revoke the standing slaughter permit, which was provided through a ministerial decision that exempted ritual Jewish and Muslim slaughter practices from the general requirement to stun animals prior to killing them.
The ruling further called on Greek lawmakers to devise a way to meet the demands of animal rights advocates and the needs of Jews and Muslims who follow the laws about food in their traditions.

“The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece,” Greek news site Protothema cited the ruling.

“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome,” Director-General of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin told JTA.

Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus, and now it is Greece’s turn,” he warned.
Bans on ritual slaughter have been implemented in several countries across the region, including Sweden, Slovenia, Estonia, Denmark, and Finland.
The bans are part of a struggle across Europe between animal welfare activists and Muslim and Jewish community representatives.
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The European Court of Justice ruled last year that all member states had to “reconcile both animal welfare and freedom of religion.”
The EJC’s Dec. 17 ruling effectively upheld a 2017 decree by the Flemish government to ban ritual slaughter without stunning, as required by most interpretations of Jewish and Muslim law, but said that imposed stricter regulation on ritual slaughter were up to the states themselves. The ruling further urged member states to “adequately and proportionately consider freedom of religion” when making such rulings.
i24NEWS contributed to this report.
https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/10/28/jewish-groups-alarmed-as-greeces-top-court-rules-against-ritual-slaughter/

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EJA/EIPA Meeting, planning for the upcoming year.

This week we dedicated two days for the annual EJA/EIPA meeting with all members of the teams, coming from France, Germany, Israel and of course our local head court’s members, here in Brussels.
Bringing together our different experiences, views and ideas we have managed to come up with a list of subjects we would like to deal with this upcoming year and a lot of exiting new ways to do that whether if it is in Politics, the Media world or among the Jewish communities around Europe.
We don’t know about you but we are very exited to start this fruitful year. for us, for The Jewish people in Europe and for the state of Israel.

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.

New Jewish European campaign seeks to house Jewish refugees from Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine enters a second week, Europe is witnessing a huge influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine toward the West, including many Ukrainian Jews in this surge to safety.The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn apart and upended by the conflict in Ukraine.

The appeal has gone out to Jewish communities from Lisbon to Lublin, Bucharest to Bordeaux, and everywhere in between.

“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, EJA chairman. “We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up and leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. We, the Jewish people, are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbors, just as we always have.

“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started, Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Another European Jewish organization very active on the ground is the Conference of European Rabbis, which announced this week that Israeli technology investor Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to the CER to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

“As we witness the terrible human suffering in Ukraine, the Conference of European Rabbis would like to announce a special donation of $3m. from the foundation established by Yuri and Julia Milner,” said the conference. “Yuri is an Israeli technology investor and science philanthropist.”

“The CER is grateful to Yuri and Julia Milner for their long-standing support and for this latest commitment to the Jewish community at this perilous time,” said CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

New Cooperation with The NIG de Achterhoek

The European Jewish Association is proud and delighted to welcome another organisation to our growing roster of partners and communities.
We have just concluded and signed a memorandum of understanding with NIG de Achterhoek. (Jewish community of Achterhoek, Netherlands)
When two dynamic and active Jewish organisations get together and agree to work closely together, beautiful and important things flow from this. We look forward to working for the betterment of Dutch and European Jewry together.

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