Opening of the First ‘Chesed’ Centre in Odessa, Ukraine.

July 9, 2021

The First of many European ‘Chesed’ Centres operated jointly by the EJA and the RCE was inaugurated in Odessa, Ukraine.
The centres provide the free lending of of a large range of medical equipment to all.
The Odessa branch is one of dozens that will open over the next two months across Europe.
The unique project is a first for the Jewish communities in Europe, although similar lending centers exist in Israel.
Each lending centre provides medical equipment for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, worth tens of thousands of euros. The arrival
of the equipment is imminent and the centre will soon be fully up and running

Additional Articles

Chief rabbi says Dutch Labour Party opposed an anti-Semitism definition to woo Muslims

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs said he was “shocked” that the Labour Party rejected a motion calling for the adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism, saying its vote aimed to curry favor with some Muslim voters.
On Tuesday, a majority of lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament, the  Tweede Kamer, passed a nonbinding motion calling on the government to adopt the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. But Labour, along with all the other left-wing parties, voted against it.
The definition has been adopted as official policy by the United Kingdom, Germany and five others in the European Union, as well as the EU as a whole.
Some pro-Palestinian activists have opposed the definition because it says that some forms of vitriol against Israel are anti-Semitic.
Jacobs, a member of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, rarely comments on political votes. He made an exception here.
The lawmakers who voted against the motion, he said, “did so out of political considerations.” Asked whether he meant that Labour opposed the motion to woo some Muslim voters, he said “Yes.”
Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher declined to say why his party voted against the motion, Ernst Lissauer, a prominent freelance journalist, wrote on Twitter.
‏Bram van Ojik of Green Left told Lissauer: “Anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel should be kept separate.”
On Wednesday, Jacobs and Rabbi Izak Vorst, the co-heads of Chabad’s team of emissaries to the Netherlands, attended an early Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Dutch parliament in The Hague. Khadija Arib, the chairwoman of the Tweede Kamer, also attended along with Ankie Broekers-Knol, chairwoman of the Eerste Kamer, or Senate.
Despite Labour’s vote, Jacobs said, “There is real determination in the Dutch political establishment to fight anti-Semitism, and the chairwomen’s remarks at the event reflected that.”
The article was published on JTA

Reflections on life and the polish animal welfare law from our advisory board member Rabbi Binyomen Jacobs

A healthy winter!
During the war, Germans who had volunteered to join the SS and the SD and Dutch collaborators of the Nazis were buried in the municipalities where they had been killed or shot.
After the war, the municipalities where those Jew hunters and other beasts were buried no longer wanted to tolerate having these remains in their local cemeteries.
The Ministry of Defence then made a piece of land available in Ysselsteyn where they had to be reburied. That killing field in Ysselseteyn is therefore a collection bin for SS beasts, Dutch SD men, collaborators, a number of whom had been shot by the resistance, and also “ordinary” German soldiers. The person who had Anne Frank and her family deported is also buried there.
A commemoration at a cemetery where only dead “ordinary” soldiers are buried, even if they were exclusively German soldiers, is a completely different story in my view.
Commemoration there is certainly worth considering. But here in Ysselsteyn paying tribute to traitors and murderers who have voluntarily chosen to murder my family and / or have them sent to the gas chambers? No way!
And so I still signed the petition, although by nature I am not a signer. I added my name to the petition to prevent anyone from thinking that I have forgiven them for their atrocities, because it happened so long ago, because it has now become history, because the crimes are barred…. So no.
Crimes of this kind against humanity cannot and must not expire and degenerate into an old episode in history. Am I hateful then? When the question arose years ago in the Sinai Center (Jewish psychiatric centre) whether we, as a Jewish institution, would like to treat children of parents who had dome wrong, I made it clear: certainly!
We must not punish children for their parents’ mistakes and I am grateful that I was able to help those victims of the war, because they too are victims of those horrible dark years.
Their parents’ opposition to my parents makes them no less victim, no less second generation. Of course we are talking about children who suffer because their parents were “wrong” in their view. I remember a meeting in Israel of my wife with a daughter of a German SS officer. Crying that daughter and my wife embraced each other: a heartbreaking and impressive scene!
And while I was able to confirm the above information about Ysselseteyn from my car, I was on my way to The Hague together with the secretary of the NIK. An appointment with the Ambassador of Poland, Mr Marcin Czepelak. (Don’t ask me how to pronounce this name. I notice that those ambassadors from those former Eastern bloc countries all have  unpronounceable names.) It was a good and friendly conversation. It was about the impending new law that wants to ban the export of kosher meat slaughtered in Poland.
Polish Jews will be allowed to continue to slaughter kosher for domestic use, but export? That should be a bridge too far. The ambassador understood well that this is not just a practical and business problem.
He foresaw very clearly that if Poland bans exports, several EU countries will follow and in the end there will no longer be kosher meat available within the EU, not even in the Netherlands. The Ambassador was in no doubt about that. But he also felt keenly that the ban on the export of kosher meat would hurt the Jewish community in its full breadth, would deeply affect their Jewishness. Jews who never eat kosher and perhaps consider kosher food as nonsense and out of date, the ambassador himself indicated, are equally affected by this measure. Because it may be that they don’t consume kosher meat, the ban on the export of kosher meat is an assault on their Jewish identity.
And now here I am at the end of this day, writing this diary to the digital paper and hopefully still with enough puff in me to dismantle the Sukkah (booth) tonight and put it away until next year. And until then? Hopefully, peace and a very soon deliverance from the evil that is called corona and also a proper return to Jewish life in our polder country.
Even on Yom Kippur, there were Jewish congregations that did not have shul service. And this year, far fewer booths that stood near the synagogues have to be demolished. The reason? Unfortunately they were not built because of corona! At the end of all these Jewish Holidays, we wish each other, and so do I: a healthy winter!
During corona time, Chief Rabbi Jacobs keeps a diary for the Jewish Cultural Quarter. NIW publishes these special documents daily on www.niw.nl.

Split, Croatia: French Jewish School Kids wake up to find giant Swastika daubed outside their hotel

European Jewish Association (EJA) contact PM, President and Ministers to register concern
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, “this will be an unforgettable holiday and experience for these children, for all the wrong reasons…a reminder that we can never become complacent or let our guard down when it comes to antisemitism.”
(Brussels 19 July 2022) A group of French Jewish schoolchildren staying at a hotel in the small town of Trilj near Split, Croatia woke up yesterday to a giant swastika daubed on the pavement in front of their hotel, a clear antisemitic act.
The Brussels based European Jewish Association was informed about the act by their representative in Croatia, Mr Romano Bolkovic. Mr Bolokovic contacted the offices of the Prime Minister, President and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs Respectively, as well as informing the Israeli ambassador. The police are currently conducting an investigation into the incident.
Speaking today, EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said,
“What an absolute shame. Whilst I am certain that the views of the individual and group responsible for painting a giant swastika are not representative of the vast majority of Croatians, the act and nature of this attack – because that is what it is- is still a deep cut to Jews everywhere.
“As adults we are sadly used to hate, yet we continue to do all that we can to shield our children from it. That a group of French Jewish Children on holiday in Croatia have had such a vicious and visible introduction to this hate is tragic.
“Waking up to see a huge red swastika daubed outside their hotel, the symbol of pain and murder to Jews everywhere says clearly, you are not wanted here. It is the burning cross, the noose around the tree to Jews. This holiday for these children will now be an an unforgettable one, for all the wrong reasons.
“Whilst I am confident that the police will get to the bottom of this incident, and whilst the strong words of condemnation coming from the highest offices in Croatia are of comfort, we still have much work to do an antisemitism. This attack is a reminder that we can never afford to be complacent and let our guard down.”

EJA Welcome Serbia's Move to Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism

Serbia has adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, the latest Balkan country to do so following Romania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia.
European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin today welcomed the move:
“Serbs, along with Jews, suffered the worst excesses of Nazism, as Hitler blamed both for the first world war. We welcome Serbia to the fold of countries that understand the danger of resurgent antisemitism across the continent and are rigorously committed to stamping it out and clearly stating what it is, without equivocation.
We continue to urge other countries who have not signed up in full, to do so. The coronavirus will, thank goodness, pass and eventually be eradicated. We still have much work to do to eliminate the virus of antisemitism. “

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