New year message from EJA Chairman for Rosh HaShanah:

September 18, 2020
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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Additional Articles

Half of Jewish college students have hidden their Jewish identity - survey

Half of Jewish students have at one point hidden their Jewish identity, according to a survey conducted by the Cohen Research Group in conjunction with The Louis D. Brandeis Center last April. Additionally, 65% of Jewish students stated that they had felt unsafe on campus.
The survey also states that the longer Jewish students stay on campus, the more they feel they must hide their connection to Judaism rather than embracing it. The poll was conducted among students belonging to predominantly Jewish fraternities and sororities.
Other main findings of antisemitism in the survey included 50% of members at the leading Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) and 69% of the members at the leading Jewish sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) have personally experienced an anti-Semitic verbal attack.
Read More:
https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/half-of-jewish-college-students-have-hidden-their-jewish-identity-survey-679895

Polish newspaper runs front page list on ‘how to spot a Jew’

MP says it is ‘absolute scandal’ such ‘filthy texts, as if taken from Nazi newspapers’ sold in parliament
A right-wing newspaper in Poland has published an article on its front page instructing readers on “how to recognise a Jew”.
The Tylko Polska, or “Only Poland”, ran a list of “names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of operation” and “disinformation activities” which it said could be used to identify Jewish people.
“How to defeat them? This cannot go on!” the front page also said, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The article was printed alongside a headline reading “Attack on Poland at a conference in Paris”, a reference to a Holocaust studies conference last month whose speakers were accused of being anti-Polish.
The newspaper caused an outcry among Polish politicians when it was distributed in the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament.
Michal Kaminski, an MP for the centre-right Poland Comes First party, said it was an “absolute scandal” such “filthy texts, as if taken from Nazi newspapers” were sold in the Polish parliament, Polsatnews reported.
Mr Kaminski asked for an explanation from parliament speaker Marek Kuchcinski, a member of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, for how such an “antisemitic” front page was made available in parliament.
The director of the Sejm Information Centre, Andrzej Grzegrzolka, initially said his office could not take action as the paper was being sold from kiosks inside the Sejm who were responsible for the choice of newspapers.
He also suggested a court could look into the front page and decide whether the title should be suspended under Polish law, which bans hate speech motivated by race or religion.
However, Mr Grzegrzolka later announced his office would request the publication be removed from the Sejm’s press kit.
The newspaper’s front page also featured an image of Jan Gross, a Polish-Jewish academic at Princeton University who has courted controversy for suggesting Polish people were complicit in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
Mr Gross’ argument that Poles collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War has made him a regular target of outrage by Polish nationalists.
The article was published by the Independent

Danish parliament to consider becoming first country to ban circumcision of boys

There is too much emphasis on the parents' religious and cultural rights'

The Danish parliament is to consider whether to become the first country to ban boys being circumcised after a petition forced lawmakers to debate the issue.

A citizens’ petition that called for the introduction of a minimum age of 18 for circumcision to protect “children’s fundamental rights” reached 50,000 signatories on Friday, taking it beyond the threshold at which it must be discussed in Parliament.

The debate should take place in the autumn, after the Danish parliament reconvenes, but it is highly unlikely that the bill will pass into law since the government appears to be opposed to such a course.

“We’d be all alone and the first country in the world to go in that direction. That’s our objective analysis,” foreign minister Anders Samuelsen told Altinget.

“It makes us vulnerable and it means that the allies who normally help us in a precarious situation, will, in this situation, not be by our side.”

The defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, also appeared unenthusiastic.

“I think the political risk is enormous,” he told reporters, going on to cite fears that the issue could provoke outside interference: "One may risk that it suddenly begins to explode on social media."

Other parliamentarians, however, were in favour of a ban.

“It will put children’s rights ahead of their parents’ religious rights,” said Naser Khader, the spokesman on human rights and legal affairs for the Conservative Party, a junior partner in the governing coalition.

"There is too much emphasis on the parents' religious and cultural rights,” Khader said.

“For me, it is the main children's rights [which are paramount]. We have been a pioneer country in many other areas, for example, we have been first movers of homosexuals' rights and we have been proud. Not [with] children's rights,” he added.

Proponents of boyhood circumcision say that the removal of the foreskin can reduce the risk of fatal diseases like cancer, but the claims are contested.

However, its prevalence is largely due to religious traditions within Islam and Judaism that revolve around the ideal of cleanliness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the health benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks but not by enough to recommend universal male circumcision.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors should educate infant boys' parents about the health benefits of circumcision, which it says reduces the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Lena Nyhus of the group Intact Denmark told The Associated Press on Saturday that her children's welfare organisation believes "we need to respect a person's right to decide for themselves" on a possible circumcision when they become an adult.

Around 30 per cent of men across the world have been circumcised, according to a 2007 World Health Organization report.

A recent poll commissioned by Danish TV2 broadcaster found that 83 per cent of respondents supported such an age limit on circumcising boys.

However, the proposal is unlikely to pass since none of Denmark's main political parties support it.

Earlier this year, Icelandic lawmakers initially backed a plan to ban circumcisions for minors and to give those who performed the procedure possible jail sentences. But after an outpouring of criticism, including from European Jewish leaders, the proposal was dropped.

The article was published in the Independent

Over 25,000 people view European Jewish Association Online Holocaust Memorial Day Event

Heads of state, parliamentarians, Jewish leaders, and hundreds of participants from all over Europe and from far away as Mexico and the United States took part in our special online commemoration service marking International Holocaust Day, in one of the largest online events for the day. The commemoration was livestreamed on our social Media and to an audience across the world via the Jerusalem Post and Arutz Sheva in Israel.
The event coincided with our annual ‘Not on my watch’ candle campaign, where European Leaders light our candle and post a message on social media with the hashtag not on my watch. As always the campaign was a success with heads of state and politicians from across the continent taking part. You can find all the relevant posts here
For the actual commemoration event high profile speakers included the President of the European Council Charles Michel, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich, European commissioners and ministers of education from across Europe, senators, parliamentarians, and ambassadors. A number of prominent Jewish leaders addressed the virtual gathering, including Joel Mergui, President of the Israelite Central Consistory of France; Milo Hasbani, President of the Jewish Community of Milan; Raymond Forado, President of the Jewish Community of Madrid; and Holocaust survivor and President of the Jewish Forum of Antwerp and Flanders, Mrs. Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, our chairman, sounded a warning to European Leaders, “The evil that existed then still exists today. All it needs is to land in the right hands and to find the right voice. We must always keep watch. We must always be alert. We must always be ready to act. And yet, here in Europe, where a few survivors still live, we see antisemitism on the rise. We are in a situation today where more Jews in Europe feel that they won’t be here in 10 years than those who think they will be. This cannot be.”
President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that “Remembering the Holocaust is a moral duty. Not only to pay tribute to victims, but also to renew our allegiance to our deepest human values. We, Europeans, have a special responsibility to fulfill this duty. Antisemitism has no place in our societies.”
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in his message,“To the survivors and families of the victims, we promise to continue to fight against all forms of negationism and attempts to minimise the magnitude of the Shoah. We will do so with all political and legal means at our disposal.”
The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Mr Isaac Herzog said, “ European governments have a special responsibility, not only to preserve the memory of the past, but to ensure that today’s European Jewish communities can live safe, full and open Jewish lives, and practice their traditions freely. Jewish communities feel that Jewish traditions and observance are being increasingly challenged by parts of European publics and legislators.
“I ask these leaders to reject all such legislation, which would be tantamount to outlawing Judaism as a whole, and to oppose any attempts to restrict the religious freedoms of European Jewish communities.”
Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay in her message said,
“Fighting oblivion is UNESCO’s mission. This mission is all the more important today to educators, teachers and pupils. We are working on new content for teachers and trainers against antisemitism in schools. We are also strongly supporting governments to fight all attempts to excuse the inexcusable.”
Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Mrs Omer Yankelevich spoke about about the rise in online hate speech saying,
“Our Ministry has responded with our own online strategy. Alongside our monitoring center, which provides comprehensive top-down reports on current antisemitic activity on social media, the Ministry is working with major social media networks including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Amazon to ensure accountability.
“Just as countries are responsible for the antisemitic activity within their borders, tech-giants are responsible for stamping out antisemitism from their platforms.”
Jewish Leaders from across Europe shared with those present their concerns, the challenges faced by their communities and their hopes for the future.
Mr Joel Mergui, the President of the French Consistoire said, “Antisemitism, anti-Zionism and attacks on Freedom of Religion make this a diificult time to be Jewish in Europe. As a result many Jews are asking themselves about their future in Europe. Which makes it incumbent on Europe to ask itself what it wants its own future to be.”
EJA advisory board member Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny, a holocaust survivor and the President of the Jewish Forum of Antwerp and Flanders put the onus on education. She said, “Our role as educators is to constantly underline the danger that intolerance and racism can lead to genocide. This battle of education must continue to be fought because a single person that suffers from racism or antisemitism is one person too much.”
Echoing this sentiment, Mr Milo Hasbani the President of the Milan Community said, “Our most important task is to continue working with the younger generation. Sadly as time goes by survivors and the older generation are less able to visit schools and education centres. That is why we are engaged in training the younger members of our community to take over this role and share the Jewish experience of the Shoah, an experience indelibly marked on our very being.”
The marathon event, which lasted over 4 hours of back to back interventions and speeches, finished with a powerful memorial prayer by Cantor and Rabbi Simcha Steinberg, Rabbi of the Jewish community of Endhoven.
You can watch the recording of the event here

Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Portugal
Poland