Nechama Rivlin - ת.נ.צ.ב.ה

June 4, 2019

The European Jewish Association expresses its heartfelt condolences to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin on the passing of his beloved wife Nechama. Like the President himself, Nechama represented a respected and unifying force for good in Israel, her patience, steady hand, compassion and love for her country was evident and exerted a huge and positive influence on her husband. It was a symbiotic patriotism that demonstrated the best of Israel.

We send him our love and thoughts at this difficult time.

ת.נ.צ.ב.ה

 

Additional Articles

ICELAND AMBASSADOR MEETING ‘CONSTRUCTIVE’ OVER CIRCUMCISION BILL SAYS JEWISH ASSOCIATION HEAD

Meeting in Brussels paves the way for European Jewish Association to make case against the Bill in Icelandic Parliament in weeks ahead

In what was described by European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Margolin as a “fruitful and constructive” meeting with Her Excellency Mrs. Bergdís Ellertsdóttir at the Icelandic Embassy in Brussels today, the Ambassador said that the Circumcision Bill was not a government backed initiative.  

The Ambassador and her deputy also suggested that Rabbi Margolin should continue dialogue and make the case against the Bill at the Parliament in Iceland, an offer that will be taken up in the weeks ahead.

Speaking after today’s meeting Rabbi Margolin said:

“The Ambassador had a very common-sense and pragmatic approach to this issue, and her words were very re-assuring. It is clear from this meeting that this is a party-led initiative and not one that enjoys the initiative or direct support of the Icelandic Parliament as a whole. This on it’s own is a good start.

‘It is our intention is to dialogue directly with Icelandic Parliamentarians and with the Committee responsible in Iceland in the short weeks ahead.

‘Our expressed concern to the Ambassador is the origin of such legislation, given that it only affects, at best 3 Icelandic children per year who would be circumcised for the purposes of the Jewish faith. Why is a such a bill is even required in the first place? It reeks of the type of populism that is all too sadly manifesting itself across the European Continent at the present time. Her Excellency assured us that our remarks would be reported directly back to the Government in Iceland

“The import of such legislation ever becoming law is that it sets precedence for other European nations, and normalises the branding of the entire Jewish population as “criminals” for performing this important, vital and precious rite of ours. It cannot and will not be allowed to happen.” 

To watch a video of Rabbi Margolin speaking about the meeting click on the picture.

New Cooperation with the Jewish Community of Bratislava

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 the Jewish Community of Bratislava
Bratislava was in the past one of the most important centers of Jewish Life in Europe and has a very rich Jewish Heritage and amongst them: The Chatam Sofer Memorial and two Jewish Museums
When two dynamic and active Jewish organisations get together and agree to work closely with one another, beautiful and important things flow from this. We look forward to working for the betterment of Slovakian and European Jewry together.

80 years after Babyn Yar massacre: tools to keep the memory alive, learn the lessons

For two days, September 29 and 30, 1941, 33,771 people were exterminated. More than thirty thousand of them were Jews.
A zoom press conference was dedicated on Tuesday to the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre ahead of an event “Lessons from Babyn Yar: History, Memory and Legacy” which is jointly organised by the House of European History in Brussels and the Kiev-based Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC).
The conference, organized in cooperation with the European Jewish Asociation, discussed lessons 80 years later, as well as unveiling new and unique tools to keep the lessons, history and memory alive, including actually putting faces and names to those murdered for the first time.
Among the speakers, French Father Patrick Desbois, founder of Yahad-In Unum and head of the scholarly council of BYHMC, stressed that Babi Yar was a criminal site where the genocide of the Jewish people took place in the center of a large city in a large country (Kiev, today Ukraine).
‘’The locals willingly aided the young fascists. The gunmen were given sandwiches and tea with little vodka in it as the mass executions lasted many hours,’’ he noted.
Father Patrick asked a practical question: where did the tons of items and valuables taken from the Jews before their execution go? ‘’It would seem that everything should be documented, but it is easier to find detailed evidence and statistics of the shootings than information about the confiscated property of those killed. It was as if the Germans were embarrassed to write about such facts.’’
He added, ‘’For me, this is another terrible evidence of the Babi Yar tragedy: human life is reduced to zero. It is only the result of statistics, nothing more. Even more terrible is that the USSR, on whose territory the tragedy took place, tried to hide the truth about Babyn Yar for a long time. Nevertheless, our generation has a goal: to find the hidden facts and restore the history of this bloody genocide.’’
“I visited Raka in Syria where there was a mass grave. Journalists came, journalists went. Perhaps in 80 years there can be a debate about what is a ‘fitting’ memorial. What is important is keeping the memory and lessons alive,’’ stressed Father Desbois.
One of the panelists, Marek Siwiec, Director of European Affairs at BYHMC,  provided information about many ongoing projects, each of which can contribute to the restoration of the truth about Babyn Yar.
Colossal work has been done: out of more than 33,000 dead, 28,428 names have been identified, and essential family and personal facts have been restored. All these invaluable findings became the basis of a vast program titled “Project Names.”
‘’It brought us closer to the real life of those who were shot at Babi Yar. They say that the death of one person is a tragedy, but the death of tens of thousands is a statistic,’’ said Siwiec, who is a former member of the European Parliament.
‘’Project Names’’ allows us to turn dry statistics into pain for everyone who was left in that terrible place, who did not live, who did not love, who did not leave their continuation on earth,’’ he added.
Another project mentioned by Siwiec, “Red Dot” (Red Dot Remembrance), is unique: more than 3,000 people provided information about the WWII war crimes. This app has so far registered 2,850 sites across of Europe of the ‘Holocaust by bullets’ which enables users to see and learn what took place wherever they are.
‘’These are mass extermination sites, eyewitness accounts, evidence supported by documents, which were kept with German punctuality and pedantry throughout the war,’’ explained Siwiec.
On the Babyn Yar massacre anniversary date of 29th September, 15,000 schools in Ukraine will participate in a “lessons of the Holocaust Day”.
‘’The key word underpinning all of our activities is education. It is only through education that the tragic disasters of the past can never be repeated,” said Siwiec.
Marek Rutka, a member of the Sejm, the Polish parliament, and chairman of the parliamentary group for the commemoration of the crimes at Babyn Yar and for a Europe free from genocide and hatred, explained that members of his political party  regularly visit the sites of the Shoah executions. ‘’They see heartfelt tragedies lead to politically literate conclusions about the need to talk about the Shoah on a European scale. There is no genocide without the tolerance of neighboring countries. These words can be taken as a motto for the whole debate.’’
Anton Schneerson, who contributed this article for European Jewish Press,  is a Ukrainian Jew living in Germany. The Jewish community of his hometown, Dnipro, managed to build one of the world’s most prominent Holocaust museum that deeply covers the Babyn Yar tragedy.
 
https://ejpress.org/80-years-after-babyn-yar-massacre-tools-to-keep-the-memory-alive-learn-the-lessons/

Words for Pesach by the Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin

The pandemic has upended so much of our daily lives, including the most sacred: our holy days.
Millions of Jews around the world will be celebrating Pesach this evening in ways that up until a few weeks ago was unimaginable, without family around them, without the bustling celebration around the table. It will of course be hard for all of us.
Of course, the irony of celebrating our holiday of freedom whilst we are in confinement due to a plague – the coronavirus, will not be lost on us.
And yet, even amongst this adversity, we are being given the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in a unique way, loaded with significance that can, in fact, bring us closer to the story of our exodus from Egypt. How?
Let us be honest, how many of us really appreciate what freedom means? In our modern lives the vast majority of us are free to come and go as we please. This pandemic has given us a flavour of what it is like to lose freedoms that we take for granted, and in the process brings us closer to our ancestors, who lost theirs under Pharaoh. It brings the holiday alive.
Truly both nights will be different from all the others, they remind us to truly appreciate the everyday blessings that the almighty bestows on us everyday, our families, our jobs, our friends.
I wish you, and your families a Pesach Sameach, and G-d willing next year in Jerusalem!

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