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

November 5, 2021

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EU leaders welcome EU strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life

EU leaders, who ended Friday a two-day meeting in Brussels to discuss a series of topics, welcomed the  EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life presented by the European Commission.
In their meeting conclusions, they said that last week’s Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism ‘’is a reminder that no effort must be spared in fighting all forms of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia.’’
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Jewish group seeks to ban Israeli auction of Nazi memorabilia

A prominent European Jewish group on is demanding for Israel to ban an auction offering Nazi memorabilia, which is set to take place in the country.
The European Jewish Association filed a cease and desist letter on Wednesday against the Israeli auction house "Pentagon," which is offering several Holocaust-related items for sale to the highest bidder.

זוג גלויות נאציות שעומדות למכירה, החל מ-50 דולר

Nazi postcards from World War II on sale at the auction
(Photo: Bidspirit)
The auction includes items such as a Jewish passport, Nazi leaflets, Nazi stamps, as well as an Austrian Nazi cigarette box with a relief of an eagle emblem and a swastika, with prices ranging from dozens to hundreds of shekels.
Pentagon’s controversial auction comes weeks after Israel’s court suspended an unrelated auction of a partial tattoo kit billed as having been used on inmates at the Auschwitz death camp, following outcry from Holocaust survivors.
"The State of Israel must enact a law against auctions of Nazi memorabilia,” wrote the head of the EJA, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, in his appeal to both the Justice Ministry and Yad Vashem.
“My association is working with heads of state, ministers and senior members of parliament in EU countries, in order to prevent the cultivation of the Nazi heritage by putting such despicable items for sale at a high price.

סרט בד של עובד במחנה הריכוז דכאו הועמד למכירה

A canvas band of a Dachau concentration camp employee on sale at the auction
(Photo: Bidspirit)
“But shamefully, it seems that in the Jewish state of Israel, there are those who do not mind selling these items to the highest bidder,” wrote Margolin.
He further suggested a legislative outline to "end the despicable phenomenon of making money, while belittling the memory of the Holocaust."

גלויה נדירה של הצורר אדולף היטלר, החל מ-50 דולר

Postcard with Adolf Hitler on it
(Photo: Bidspirit)
The Justice Ministry has yet to provide a response to the EJA’s appeal.

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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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

9½ = 4

A few days ago, I received a phone call from Israel from M who claimed he was many years ago in school with one of my children. He was not the brightest of the class, but he always received high marks for Jewish subjects due to his diligence and good behavior. He called me to wish me many more years because of Sjawoe'ot and proudly informed me that he has recently obtained his education diploma and now supervises children with learning disabilities. I remember being shocked at the time that one of the mothers told me that M's 9½ should actually have been a 4 and not comparable to her son's 8.
There is no doubt that Torah study is of mayor importance. After all, we Jews are the People of the Book, of “learning”, daily and through the ages. And yet Judaism is not about the acquired knowledge. Judaism is not science, and “learning” is not studying. A high level of knowledge is not a proof of a high level of commitment.
When traveling on a train journey we know beforehand what station we want to step out.  And when we leave the train, it’s visible to everybody what the destination was.
That too is the way a good book works. In the title of the book, the beginning, in fact, the entire content is included.  And at the very end, in the last sentence or in the last word, the conclusion becomes clear and visible.
The Torah starts with the history of Creation. And our great explainer Rasjie asks an obvious question: Why does the Torah starts with the story of Creation? The Five Books of Moses are primarily intended for the Jewish People and we can only speak of the Jewish People after the Exodus from Egypt when the Torah was received on Mount Sinai. Wouldn't it have made more sense if the Torah had started with this episode and not with the creation of the world?  And Rasjie answers his own question as follows: before we start studying the Torah, we must realize and accept that there is a Creator!
The last sentence of the whole Thora tells us how Moshe broke the stone Tablets of the Ten Commandments and G'd is grateful to him for that deed! Isn’t that strange! Is this the most suitable sentence to finish the Thora?  And what was the course of Moshe breaking the Tablets which were literally a gift from Heaven? When Moshe saw that the Jews, his people, had forgotten G'd and worshiped the Golden Calf, shouldn’t he better have put aside the Tablets, go to his people and addressed them admonishing and then took back the Tablets. Why smash them? And why was G'd so pleased with Moshe's destructive act?
And again, the same answer as to the question about the story of Creation: if the Jews no longer wanted to follow Hashem our G’d Who brought them out of Egypt and instead focused on idolatry, the Torah became totally worthless and the Tablets had nothing left to offer.
The Torah is not a goal, but a means. The means to serve G’d and survive as a Jewish nation. And that's why the Torah starts and ends with that thought.
If we are aware that the Torah is the means, then we can start “learning”. And it is not about the
9½ or the 4, not about a high or a low IQ. It is about commitment, real piety and sincerity. Torah is a means, and those who see Torah as the goal they better go to study something else.
Many good, prosperous and healthy years   
גוט יום טוב
Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi
Sjawoe’ot 5781

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