Jewish New Year -Rosh Hashanah Reception

September 30, 2022

We at the EJA also like to start the New Year on the right footing. And what better way to do that than to gather our friends and supporters together.

In co-operation with European Parliament vice-president Nicola Beer and the Czech presidency of the European Union, our sister organisation the EJCC and with speeches from Ambassadors of Israel, the US, Czech Republic, and parliamentary and diplomatic attendees from across the continent, we talked about the importance of the holiday, heard the Shofar, dipped apples into honey and spent a lovely evening eating and drinking with our political and diplomatic friends and supporters, all accompanied by a piano performance by piano maestro and friend of the EJA Tzachi Solsky.

Additional Articles

European Jews face new threat in wake of COVID-related anti-Semitism

Top European rabbi tells Israel Hayom a special center to monitor real-time incidents via remote feeds could be established in order to tackle anti-Jewish attacks.

The recent terrorist attacks in Austria and France, as well as the spike in coronavirus cases in Europe, has created a fear among Jews in the continent that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the spread of the pandemic could become mainstream.
A recent study in Germany showed that one in three Germans has somewhat of a conspiratorial view of the world.
Felix Klein, who is the federal commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism, told Israel Hayom that the recent protests against the COVID-19 regulations have become fertile ground for anti-Jewish sentiment.
“The current protests against corona-related restrictions serve as a rallying point for antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and believers in conspiracy myths. At “hygiene protests”, participants downplay the Holocaust by, for example, comparing the current requirement to wear a face mask with the obligation to wear a Star of David during the Nazi regime,” he told Israel Hayom. “Portraying themselves as rebels – as do for example the supporters of the new political party Widerstand2020 (Resistance2020) and the Reichsbürger movement – is typical of adherents to anti-Semitic beliefs: Presenting oneself as breaking taboos, as ‘finally’ bringing the truth to light, as showing at last who is pulling the strings behind the scenes – and, as has been done for thousands of years, pointing their fingers once again at Jews,” he added.
When asked about the danger posed by such conspiratorial views, he noted that there is a concern verbal statements could eventually morph into action.
“Conspiracy myths also prepare the ground for violence, as history has shown. Those who perceive themselves as victims and feel threatened can themselves turn into a threat. Anti-Jewish pogroms throughout history have been the fatal consequence of such obsessive hatred of Jews, as have the antisemitic terrorist attacks worldwide in recent years,” he said. “A recent study has shown that radicalization online takes place four times faster than offline. That is what makes it so important to quickly adjust our laws. This is the thrust of the package of measures put forward by the federal government. I am confident we can achieve a lot through a combination of repression and education. After all, what is ultimately at stake is social cohesion in times of crisis.”
Meanwhile, Jewish groups have scrambled to deal with the threat of rising anti-Semitism in the age of coronavirus. The group “Concert – Together for Israel” strives to bolster Israel’s image and fight modern anti-Semitism, says its job has been made much more difficult in the wake of the pandemic, and many pro-Israel groups are facing potential elimination.
“Generally speaking, one can say that small organizations that rely on a small staff expect a slowdown and a long recovery, but the big organizations that need a large operation worry about their long-term viability in light of the added costs,” Nava Edelstein, the group’s program director says.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association that has led a comprehensive effort to counter anti-Semitism in Europe, told Israel Hayom that he has been overseeing a “virtual command center” that gets daily updates from Jewish communities on online anti-Jewish attacks.
“We constantly see how anti-Semitic voices on the web attribute the virus to a Zionist-Jewish conspiracy, on top over other forms of anti-Semitism that involve graffiti and vandalizing of Jewish institutions,” he said, adding the largest volume of reports originates in France, Romania and Belgium.
“We are considering setting up a center that would monitor events through Jewish communities’ video feeds in real time, so that we can alert security forces when such incidents happen,” he revealed.

Medical Equipment Lending Network for Jewish communities Starts Roll-Out Across Europe

Rabbi Attacked in Germany, But Finds a Sweet Spot

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.
Algemeiner
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.
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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.
Shana Tova!
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