President Đukanović is a true friend of the Jewish people.

November 1, 2019

For the first time ever, a permanent Chief Rabbi was elected in Montenegro, in a moving ceremony with the presence of President Milo Đukanović and Israeli Minister of Religious Services Yitzhak Vaknin. Chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin: “President Đukanović is a true friend of the Jewish people.”
Thursday, 31 October 2019, Montenegro. A small piece of Jewish history was marked today in the capital of Montenegro, as Rabbi Ari Edelkopf was elected as the first-ever permanent Chief Rabbi of the country.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Montenegro’s President Milo Đukanović, Israeli Minister of Religious Services Yitzhak Vaknin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe Rabbi Arie Goldberg, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate representative Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weiss, President of the Montenegrin Jewish Community Đorđe Raičević, and dozens of Montenegrin ministers and MPs.
For more than two years, Rabbi Edelkopf has served as the Rabbi of Montenegro’s Jewish community, which includes over 500 Jewish families – some of whom are natives of Montenegro and others who moved to the country in recent years. During the ceremony, Rabbi Edelkopf stated that: “In Judaism to be a teacher is the biggest honour. To be giving, sharing knowledge and love! The Jewish community in Montenegro is unique, and I feel honoured to be its Rabbi. I would like to thank my wife Hana. Everything I have achieved ever as a rabbi is all thanks to her and our Rebbe, who says: “Everyone needs to share his or her knowledge with others. Even if you know only one letter, share it. With G-d’s help, we’ll all strive and aim for that.””
During the nomination ceremony, Montenegro’s President Milo Đukanović noted that: “We live in hard times. Antisemitism is on the rise, and is not only a problem for the Jewish community, but for the whole of Europe. The appointment of a chief rabbi in Montenegro is a bright spot that we are all happy about.”
Rabbi Edelkopf is a not only the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community, but of the entire country of Montenegro, and we will surely continue our fruitful cooperation, with the Jewish community working with him.”
“Over the years, the Montenegrin people have been very supportive of the Jewish people and many Montenegrins helped to hide Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Since its declaration of independence in 2006, the various governments in the state have maintained very good relations with the Jewish community, which is reflected, among other things, in the allocation of land for building synagogues, and in the very small number of Antisemitic incidents in the country.”
Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who initiated the historic appointment in Montenegro thanked President Đukanović for his unquestionable support for the Jewish people, congratulated Rabbi Edelkopf on the appointment, and stated: “President Đukanović is a true friend of the Jewish people and brings with him a very rich experience in the fight against Antisemitism all over Europe. We look forward to continuing working hand in hand with him on this issue.”
Minister of Religious Services of Israel, Yitzhak Vaknin, thanked President Đukanović and the EJA’s Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin for their efforts to strengthen the Jewish community in Montenegro and throughout the Balkans, and noted that: “The State of Israel sees itself as an address for all the Jews of the world, both the Jews who want to make Aliyah to Israel and the Jews who choose to live in the Balkans, and we want to deepen the dialogue and cooperation with everyone.”
Director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, Rabbi Arie Goldberg, noted during the ceremony that: “The appointment of Rabbi Edelkopf as permanent Chief Rabbi of Montenegro will greatly contribute to strengthening the spiritual and physical infrastructure of the Jewish community in the country. We at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe will continue to assist rabbis and Jewish community leaders – small and large – throughout the continent, to grow, develop, and maintain their Jewish identity.”

 

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#LightingEurope

We hope you all had the chance to light the candles yesterday with your loved ones and maybe have a Sufganiya or two…
Many have joind us yesterday to spread the light on social media as well under the #LightingEurope campaign…
There are still 7 days to go and much light to bring all across Europe.
Join us today and the days after! all you have to do is post a pictue with your menorah and use the hashtag #LightingEurope.
Happy Chanukah!
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LA FRANCE EST LE PAYS EUROPÉEN DONT LA COMMUNAUTÉ JUIVE SE SENT LE MOINS EN SÉCURITÉ, SELON UNE ÉTUDE PORTANT SUR 12 ETATS EUROPÉENS

a France est le pays dont la communauté juive se sent le moins en sécurité, en dépit des actions menées par l’Etat, selon une étude portant sur 12 pays européens publiée ce mardi dans le cadre d’une rencontre organisée par l’Association juive européenne (EJA).

Les chiffres font froid dans le dos. D’après une étude sur la «qualité de vie juive» portant sur 12 pays européens, réalisée par l’Institute for Jewish Policy Research de Londres et par la European Union Agency for Fondamental Rights, auprès de 16.000 Juifs européens en 2018, la France est le pays dont la communauté juive se sent le moins en sécurité.

QUATRE CRITÈRES CROISÉS

Pour réaliser cette étude, les chercheurs ont croisé quatre ensembles de données : le sentiment de sécurité ressenti par la communauté juive, l’attitude de la population vis-à-vis des juifs et Israël, l’antisémitisme et enfin la «performance du gouvernement» (statistiques sur les incidents antisémites, lieux de mémoire de l’Holocauste, budget destiné à la sécurité des sites juifs, liberté de culte et préservation des pratiques juives telles que la circoncision et l’abattage rituel, etc…).

Les résultats sont probants. Il en ressort que la France, qui comprend la plus forte communauté juive d’Europe avec un peu moins de 500.000 Juifs, arrive à la 10e position (68/100) de cet index qui concerne également l’Italie (1ère place avec 79/100), la Hongrie (2e), la Pologne (11e), la Belgique (12e place avec 60/100), mais aussi l’Allemagne, l’Espagne, le Danemark, le Royaume-Uni, la Suède, les Pays-Bas.

DES ATTAQUES ET ATTENTATS ANTISÉMITES

«L’une des conclusions, surprenante, est que le gouvernement de la France a une bonne performance» par les actions menées par l’Etat (score de 83/100), «mais en dépit de cela, la communauté juive exprime un fort sentiment d’inquiétude» pour sa sécurité (31/100), ce qui place la France en dernière position sur ce point, a déclaré à l’AFP Daniel Staetsky, auteur de cet index et statisticien à l’Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Comme possibles explications, il a cité les «attaques terroristes antisémites» comme la tuerie de l’école juive Otzar Hatorah à Toulouse en 2012 ou l’attaque contre l’Hypercacher dans l’Est parisien en janvier 2015.

LE DANEMARK PREMIER DE LA CLASSE

Autre enseignement : c’est au Danemark que la population juive se sent le plus en sécurité. La Hongrie arrive au premier rang concernant l’antisémitisme. Et la Belgique est dernière pour les actions menées par le pays en faveur de sa communauté juive.

Selon l’EJA, la rencontre, qui se tient à Budapest (Hongrie) depuis lundi et se termine mardi, réunit quelque 250 personnes, dont 120 représentants et dirigeants des communautés juives d’Europe.

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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 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.
Here, the Rabbi offers his unique and refreshing take on the portion. For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl and then: scroll down.
On Freedom of Speech
 
Freedom of opinion and speech is a great asset and therefore everything must be said.
 
And if I am allowed to say everything, I also have to accept everything and not moan when I myself become the target of taunts. Agree!
 
But why then get upset about anti-Israel resolutions in the UN, the anti-Semitic floats in Aalst or the umpteenth anti-Semitic cartoon in the Volkskrant?
 
Everything can be said, right? A cartoon that insults the heart of Islam must be possible, right? And what’s wrong with black Pete? Do dark skinned people feel offended? Don’t complain, freedom of speech!
 
But that opinion should of course not be every opinion, because if parents want to teach their children that the family with a mom and dad is the cornerstone of society, it could be seen as discriminating towards people who have a different orientation…
 
A befriended non-Jewish, non-Christian, non-Muslim and unmarried journalist (thus of impeccable behaviour!) Has warned me not to write that I am in favour of freedom of expression, but that that freedom must have restrictions.
 
That nuancing “but” would bring a torrent of criticism on myself. “But” I don’t get that, because if freedom of speech is to be cherished, then I am allowed to express my opinion, even if that opinion differs?
 
And so with this my opinion, straight from ancient Judaism (Proverbs of the Fathers 2: 1): “What is the right way that man must choose? Any way that gives honour to him who follows him and by which he is honoured by men. ”
 
In other words: Black Pete really had nothing to do with discrimination for me. But if normal thinking people with a black skin colour now experience this as discriminating, then we have to stop.
 
Fanaticism is no good, neither from the right nor from the left, not from religion, but also not from secularization. Because secularization can also be fanatic, compulsive and intolerant.
 
But just before writing this, I got a call from a secular mayor friend: “Binyomin, if you ever need to, you can count on me.” This again shows: friendship and solidarity, between secular and religious, standing up for each other, that is not only possible but eminently desirable.
ARUTZ 7

EU Parliament President: We're not doing enough to fight antisemitism

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, European Commissioner for neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varheyli, Secretary of the National Assembly of France, MP Caroline Janvier, President of Parliament of Czech Republic, Markéta Pekarová, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazović joined Ministers and Members of Parliaments from 23 European countries gathered at the Auschwitz extermination camp as part of the annual European Jewish Association’s Leaders Delegation to fight anti-Semitism. The delegation included a Gala Dinner where the President of the European Parliament and Commissioner received awards for services to the Jewish People and Israel respectively.

 

During her first visit to Auschwitz, President of European Parliament, Roberta Metsola stated that: “It is my duty and responsibility to protect people in Europe from antisemitism, we will not forget and will not let this happen again. we must fight propaganda and antisemitic narratives and we don’t only need a strategy against antisemitism, we need action to bring Judaism again to Europe. ”

 

European Commissioner for neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varheyli affirmed that it is his duty to come to Auschwitz and stated that: I really fear thar what happened here can happen again. The best way to combat antisemitism is to promote Jewish life. It is not enough to say never again, we must do something. My message to the Europeans: There is only one victory over death, that is life”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association stated that: “Times of war and economic crisis always serve as a platform for a serious escalation of anti-Semitism. Therefore, especially these days – more than any period since World War II, European leaders are required to act with greater determination to eradicate anti-Semitism both in the field of education and in the field of legislation. Defaming the Jewish people and the Jewish state is the definition of incitement and not freedom of expression and attacks on the Jewish way of life is an infringement of freedom of religion and worship. we expect each and every one of the heads of parliament, ministers and officials who accepted our invitation to return tomorrow to their country and to implement educational programs on the obligatory lessons from the Holocaust as well as essential changes in legislation against anti-Semitism and xenophobia.”

 

As part of the special gathering, the European leaders placed wreaths at the “Death Wall” compound in Auschwitz and lit memorial candles on the ruins of the gas chambers in Birkenau. Members of the delegation heard chilling testimonies from Holocaust survivor and President of Antwerp Jewish Forum, Baroness Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny, and Keren Knoll, granddaughter of Mireille knoll, Holocaust survivor who was murdered in antisemitic attack in Paris in 2018.

 

Alexander Machkevitch, Founder of Euro Asian Jewish Congress and philanthropist for intercommunal religious dialogue and projects was honored with the Sir Montefiore Award for his tireless multi-decade work in safeguarding and promoting European Jewry. Accepting the award, Machkevitch said: “It’s a great honor for me to be here. My mother survived because she took the last train. Otherwise she would go to Auschwitz and I wouldn’t be here. I admire you for you contribution of time and energy to make this world a better place. I wish you never get tired nor exhausted to make the world a better place. God will reward you and your children.”

 

Secretary of the National Assembly of France, MP Caroline Janvier said: “Every political leader should visit Auschwitz to remember that man is capable of the worst, and that modernity doesn’t prevent the worst from happening.”

 

President of Parliament of Czech Republic, Markéta Pekarová said: “It is Very important to show to young generations what happened in Auschwitz and throughout the Holocaust to keep the memory. Seeing with our own eyes is important. Violations of human rights are unacceptable. It is the responsibility of all European politicians to eradicate antisemitism – Let us not repeat the tragic mistakes of our ancestors. These evils must be stopped.”

 

Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazović said: “We must be careful about what happened here. we should educate young generations that this shouldn’t and must not be repeated. This visit is a contribution to promote a culture of memory and anti-discrimination and is the duty of every EU leader is to visit Auschwitz.”

ARUTZ 7
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