Juan Caldes Addresses NNGG from Partido Popular: Strengthening Bonds through Pro-Jewish Advocacy and Youth Engagement

February 5, 2024

We’re excited to share that Juan Caldes had the opportunity to address NNGG from the Partido Popular and share insights on the current situation in Israel. Gratitude abounds for their warm invitation and the chance to engage with their youth movement. Heartfelt thanks for the support during these challenging times.

This collaboration exemplifies the vital role of pro-Jewish advocacy in fostering dialogue and understanding. Through advocacy efforts, bridges are built, enabling us to share perspectives and create connections across diverse communities.

Looking forward to continued partnerships that strengthen bonds and promote mutual understanding.

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Eurovision song contest in Malmo: Israel’s National Security Council upgrades travel warning for the Swedish city

Malmo, which has a high concentration of Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian migrants, is known as a focus for anti-Israel protests, which occur on a weekly basis and frequently include incitement, calls to attack Jews and Israelis and the burning of Israeli flags.By EJP and JNSThe 2024 Eurovision Song Contestwill be held in the Swedish city of Malmo on 7-11 May.In light of this event, the National Security Council (NSC) is upgrading the travel warning for Malmo (but not the travel warning for Sweden as a whole) from Level 2 (potential threat) to Level 3 (moderate threat) and recommends that Israelis due to arrive in the city reconsider the necessity of the trip.The travel warning is for the period of the Eurovision and is subject to an assessment of the situation.Malmo, which has a high concentration of Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian migrants, is known as a focus for anti-Israel protests, which occur on a weekly basis and frequently include incitement, calls to attack Jews and Israelis and the burning of Israeli flags.It should be noted that on October 7, anti-Israel elements were openly joyful over the massacre that Hamas perpetrated in Israel.In addition to the protests in Malmo, in recent months there has been an upsurge in calls by global jihadist and radical Islamic elements to carry out attacks against Western targets, including focused threats against Israelis and Jews around the world, while emphasizing targets with a high media profile. It should be noted on 19 March, the arrest of ISIS operatives who were planning to carry out an attack on the Swedish parliament.These developments raise the tangible concern that terrorists will exploit the protest and the anti-Israel atmosphere to carry out an attack on Israelis who will arrive for the Eurovision, the NSC said.While the Swedish authorities have increased security in Malmo, it should be noted that unlike the Israeli delegation to the contest, Israeli visitors will not receive special security.Visitors to Malmo are requested to download the IDF Home Front Command app in order to receive NSC updates quickly and in real-time in the event of an incident in Malmo during the Eurovision.Israeli contestant Eden Golan prepares for the compeition Meanwhile, Israeli Eurovision contestant Eden Golan landed in Malmo on Tuesday to prepare for the competition.“I feel like the main message is that we are here, we are strong, we will show our voices, the warmth, the strength and the emotion that we have inside us,” Golan told JNS.“There are truly so many people who support us, people who like the song, are there for us and love us. We are a huge family and we want to spread good, love and unity,” she added.The Eurovision Song Contest is an internationally televised songwriting competition comprising three live shows: two semi-finals and a grand final.All songs must be original and no more than three minutes in length. Lead vocals must be performed live, and no more than six performers can take to the stage during any one performance.In each show, after all songs have been performed, each country participating awards two sets of points (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12) to their favorite songs; one set is awarded by a jury of five music industry professionals and one is awarded by viewers.The five countries in each semi-final with the most points advance to the grand final.Last year, Israeli pop star Noa Kirel finished in third place in the Eurovision final in Liverpool, behind Sweden and Finland. She was aiming to become the fifth Israeli to win the song contest since the Jewish state first entered the annual event in 1973 and the first since Netta Barzilai and her song “Toy” won in 2018.Past winners include Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta in 1978, with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi,” Milk and Honey in 1979 with “Hallelujah” and Dana International in 1998 with “Diva.”This year, Eden Golan, 20, will represent the Jewish state in the second semifinal on May 9. The grand final will take place on May 11.The coming days will be busy ones for Golan.“Each day revolves around Eurovision, from rehearsals and vocal lessons to interviews, photoshoots and fittings to prepare the wonderful outfits that I will be wearing on stage,” she said.“I am concentrating on our goal: to give a great performance, and I am constantly working towards it,” she added.Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest reaffirmed in February that Israel would be allowed to compete despite calls to exclude it from the competition.“Of course, there were thoughts and uncertainties at certain points. I don’t think I really let it get to me. I was very focused, I truly wanted to believe that we would be there on stage, I visualized it, I just saw myself performing on stage,” said Golan.“Good thoughts, good vibes, good energy; here we are now,” she added.Rejecting parallels drawn by pro-Palestinian activists with Russia’s exclusion from the competition over its invasion of Ukraine, Noel Curran, director-general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), said that “comparisons between war and conflict are complex and difficult and, as an apolitical media organization, it is not our place to make them.”In March, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster revealed the Jewish state’s final entry for this year’s contest, after the EBU had threatened to disqualify two earlier entries over perceived political messaging. A week earlier, the EBU informed Israel that Golan would be allowed to compete with “Hurricane.”“When we finally got the news that everything was sorted out, it was amazing, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” said Golan.“It was exciting, heartwarming and uplifting because I really think that this year more than ever it’s important for us to be there on stage and show our voice,” she added.The last lines of “October Rain,” one of Israel’s earlier entries, described the condition of Israelis during the Oct. 7 terror attacks, in which 1,200 people were slaughtered: “There’s no air left to breathe / No place, no me from day to day.”In one of the verses, Golan sang the word “flowers,” which is Israel Defense Forces slang for fallen soldiers, but which does not carry that connotation for European viewers.Israel’s second-choice song, “Dance Forever,” was an apparent reference to the massacre at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, where Hamas terrorists murdered 364 people on Oct. 7.Kan has said that the final submission, set to the tune of “October Rain,” tells the story of a “young woman who is surviving a personal crisis.”“Honestly, when the news got out to me that they did not want to approve the song, I was shocked, to say the least,” said Golan. “Now that it’s done, I’m not looking back. I know that we have a great song that will represent us proudly and that’s all that matters,” she continued.“I am very happy with the final product. I think we have a great, powerful and emotional song that conveys so many feelings, in which every single person can find themselves and connect to it in some way or another,” Golan added.She told JNS she is well aware of the worldwide surge of antisemitism.In March, a London movie theater threatened to cancel the screening of the Eurovision Grand Final if Israel remains in the competition, according to Deadline.The Rio Cinema in East London, known for its ties with Eurovision Party London, declared the decision via social media, and added that it will continue to support Palestinian charities.“I am not naive. I know what is going on in the world. It’s not something we can really hide from,” said Golan.“I wouldn’t say I’m scared, because I will be taken care of and the whole delegation is going to be taken care of as well. Once again I am very focused on our main goal: to give a great performance. We can’t run away from reality, sadly, but we can focus on the good,” she added.

Link: https://ejpress.org/eurovision-song-contest-in-malmo-israels-national-security-council-upgrades-travel-warning-for-the-swedish-city-mo-sweden/

#LightingEurope Fourth and Fifth Day of Chanukah13-12-2020

As a part of our #LightingEurope canpaign we are happy and honored to have EMIH Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation Executive Rabbi Slomó Köves for the fourth candle and Dr Leah Floh, Chairperson of the Mönchengladbach Jewish Community for the Fifth candle with some special words for Chanikah
You can read the translation of Dr Floh here:
My dear Jewish friends in the entire world but especially in Israel!
Dear friends and supporters!
The Jewish Community of Möchengladbach [Northrhein-Westphalia, Germany] and all Jews from throughout Germany want to wish all of you a Happy Chanukah – a festival of lights, of love, of hope and of solidarity.
Please stay healthy or return quickly to good health. Remain optimistic and always remember to support each other.
Dear Shoah survivors, dear Child Survivors: you have great capacity for resilience and with it you could infect others with your positive outlook on life.
I’m convinced that we will be able to celebrate together next year.
Am Israel Chai עם ישראל חי [the people of Israel live!], l’shana haba’ah b’Yerushalayim לשנה הבאה בירושלים‎ [next year in Jerusalem!].
Chag Chanukah Sameach חג חנוכה שמח [Happy Chanukah Holiday!]
Amen!

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
Eli, Mazal Tov!
Our grandson Eli turned three! My daughter, his mother, blew up 150 balloons for it and it turned into a drive-in party. I’ll come back to it in a moment.
We are plagued here in Holand by rioters, detritus. Of course the riots are served up with a side order of ‘rational’ sauce.
The youth do not feel heard, the vaccine is not good and there will be more explanations as to why this looting is taking place. Cars are set on fire, windows smashed, police cars overturned. Polygamy must be allowed and forced prostitution is acceptable. And at the same time we speak with justified horror and disgust about glitterati such as Epstein, Weinstein and fashion king Jean-Luc Brunel who, despite their criminal lives, could and were allowed to afford themselves anything.
If everything is allowed and everything is possible, is it any wonder that this kind of criminally smelly rich activity goes on and on ?! Morality is totally lost. Is there a new phenomenon?
In the Pirke Avot, the ethics of the Fathers, we read (3: 2) that we should pray for the welfare of the royal family because if there is no authority people devour each other alive. And that is exactly what is happening now. Anarchy and therefore aimless looting, burning cars, blocking entrances to hospitals and completely destroying individual hard-working people.
As it was really unimaginable six months ago that the Capitol in the USA could be penetrated, it is no longer inconceivable in our own peaceful polder country that something like this could also happen here in our government buildings. I cannot imagine that this is not yet taken into account by the police. At the German cemetery in Ysselsteyn, an educational centre is being set up that shows how easily people can be transformed into inhuman beings. There, SS killers and Dutch traitors lie buried next to regular soldiers who were often forced, against their will, to go to war they absolutely did not want. But many of them, still young, were brainwashed and believed that good is bad and that there are Aryans and Jews, Humans and Superman.
I am convinced that ten or twenty years from now, most rioters will look back with horror at the present and be filled with shame.
By coincidence (although coincidence really does not exist!) I came across a speech I gave in 2010 on the occasion of 65 years of liberation:
“Freedom is not everything is allowed and everything is possible and freedom does not mean that we can and must tolerate everything. Freedom has limits and requires individual commitment, training, education and respect for others. Freedom cannot tolerate everything, freedom has its limitations, freedom starts with you, with me, for the sake of all of us.
They fought for freedom
For then, for tomorrow and for the present
But if freedom means, everything is possible and everything is allowed
And respect is disappearing for Government and for authority
When values ​​and norms fade and disappear
When people only think of themselves and their own
And for the other there is no place and there is no place
If it is common to think that it should
Then the freedom of that time is not the freedom of the present
Isn’t it the freedom they fought for?”
I don’t want to include the 1940s-45s. Despite the riots, despite comparisons that might be drawn, we have a Government that may not be excellent with respect to Corona, but it is reliable. Rutte can absolutely not be compared to any villainous potentate. He is a good person who wants to do what is right for his citizens.
However, I would like to mention that today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. That Holocaust also started with looting, brainwashing, indoctrination, maleficent education.
My grandson Eli who lives in Montreal turned three today. There is a custom not to cut a boy’s hair until his third birthday because man is compared in the Torah to a tree in the field. And just as the fruit of the tree must be left untouched for the first three years, so too, the hair is not cut until the boy is three. Eli has received presents, put money in the Tzedaka (charity) box , he was allowed to say aleph beit and lick the letters that were smeared with honey. Tomorrow he will be wrapped in a tallit and carried into the Jewish school and sweets will be thrown at him.
Obviously, corona is a bummer here, but I am convinced that my son-in-law and daughter will do everything as normal as possible while respecting the corona rules. So Eli is raised from day one with positive thoughts, deeds and gifts. He will not get a pistol or a frightening dragon from his grandpas and grandmas. We gave him, via zoom, his own kiddush cup, a small one of course. He is now wearing a yarmulke and tzitzit.
And so, his parents invest from a very young age in his Jewish upbringing and pray daily that Eli may continue to follow the right path, the way of Torah and Tradition, so that he will be a blessing not only for his own family but also for the society as a whole.
Eli, Mazal Tov!

“PER LA MEMORIA DELLA SHOAH NON SI FA ABBASTANZA”: LE PAROLE DI REGINA SUCHOWOLSKI-SLUSZNY

Poco prima dello scoppio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, la comunità ebraica in Belgio era composta da circa 75 mila ebrei, divisi tra le città di Anversa e di Bruxelles. Circa il 45% della popolazione ebraica venne deportata e mandata principalmente ad Auschwitz, di questi, solo 1200 fecero ritorno. Un totale di 28.900 ebrei belgi furono uccisi tra il 1942 e il 1945.

Al contrario di altri paesi in Europa, il regime nazista si dovette scontrare con una forte resistenza popolare che impedì la completa applicazione delle politiche antisemite. Questo clima permise ad una complessa rete clandestina di nascondere più di 6mila bambini, dalla tenera età fino ai 15 anni, all’interno di famiglie non ebraiche sparse nel Belgio. Una di queste fu Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny, che ebbe la fortuna di riunirsi alla sua famiglia e di essere accudita da una famiglia che considera tuttora parte della sua.

Da decenni Regina, vicepresidente dell’Associazione dei bambini che furono nascosti in Belgio, nonché presidente del Forum delle organizzazioni ebraiche, si occupa di raccontare nelle scuole la sua storia e quella di suo marito George, che ebbe un’esperienza simile.

Nonostante abbia visitato centinaia di istituti e raccontato la storia a migliaia di ragazzi in tutto il Belgio, per lei raccontare ciò che le è accaduto durante la Shoah e gli orrori di quel periodo sono una missione di vita, che porterà avanti, come dice, “fino a quando il mio corpo glielo permetterà”. Regina ha parlato di fronte a politici e leader del mondo ebraico a Cracovia alla conferenza organizzata dalla European Jewish Association.

Proprio per l’occasione, Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny ha condiviso con Shalom vari temi, tra cui quello di quanta strada ci sia ancora da fare nell’educazione dei ragazzi riguardo la Shoah e nella lotta all’antisemitismo in Belgio.

“Non esiste una vera educazione in materia. Sanno che c’è stata una guerra, ma oltre a quello non sanno altro” ha tuonato la Presidente del Forum delle Organizzazioni Ebraiche parlando delle lacune del sistema educativo in Belgio.

“Qualche mese fa sono andata in una scuola ed ho chiesto alla maestra di cosa avesse parlato ai suoi studenti. – ci ha raccontato Regina –  Lei mi ha risposto che avevano parlato di quell’argomento per un pomeriggio.”

Il problema, secondo Suchowolski-Sluszny, proviene proprio dalla classe docente. “Nonostante sia obbligatorio parlare della Shoah nelle classi, gli insegnanti non sanno cosa sia la Shoah. – ha fatto notare –  Per questo parlare di Hitler e far vedere Schindler’s List ai propri alunni non potrà mai essere abbastanza.”

Dei tanti incontri fatti durante questi anni, due episodi hanno particolarmente colpito la sopravvissuta: il primo ha per protagonista una ragazza, che dopo aver sentito la testimonianza ha capito il vero valore delle cose; mentre il secondo riguarda un ragazzo le cui idee sugli ebrei e su Israele erano state fortemente influenzate dal padre, completamente cambiate dopo aver discusso con lei.

In entrambi i casi la testimonianza ha creato in loro un cortocircuito, “ciò che faccio è fargli porre determinate domande, poi capire ciò che è giusto o sbagliato è un processo che i ragazzi devono fare da soli.”

Mentre per quanto riguarda dell’antisemitismo, in linea con quanto detto dal Rabbino Menachem Margolin nel suo discorso di apertura alla conferenza di Cracovia, in Europa non si sta facendo abbastanza per contrastare il fenomeno.

Molto di quanto detto dai vari governi dei paesi membri dell’Unione Europea e dallo stesso governo belga, secondo lei sono “parole al vento”. Lo stesso fenomeno viene preso sottogamba dalle forze dell’ordine del suo paese, che il più delle volte ignorano le segnalazioni della comunità ebraica, al contrario di quanto avviene per esempio in Italia, lodando il lavoro svolto dal prefetto Lamberto Giannini, vincitore del King David Award dell’EJA.

Un’altra scottante problematica riguarda il BDS, aggiunge Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny, e l’esempio lampante è ciò che sta accadendo nelle università europee. “Succede ad Anversa, a Bruxelles, ovunque. BDS è libero di agire e nessuno fa qualcosa per fermarlo. – sostiene – Chi firma le loro campagne sono soprattutto gli accademici.” Un problema che bisogna risolvere il prima possibile se si vuole dare ai ragazzi una vita universitaria più tranquilla, secondo la Presidente del Forum delle organizzazioni ebraiche.

https://www.shalom.it/blog/orizzonte-europa-bc251/a-per-la-memoria-della-shoah-non-si-fa-abbastanzaa-le-parole-di-regina-suchowolski-sluszny-b1105101

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