President of Ireland Blessings for Rosh HaShanah

September 17, 2020

The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, for His Excellency's kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah

Additional Articles

Czech Interior Ministry, Prague City Hall scrap deals with publisher of Third Reich Nazi calendar

The Czech Interior Ministry has cancelled a storage space rental contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house
Prague, May 26 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry has abrogated its storage space rent contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house that issued a calendar with portraits of the Third Reich protagonists, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told CTK after meeting Israeli ambassador Daniel Meron today.
Such items have no place in Czech shops, he said.
The publisher faces a criminal complaint by Michal Klima, the head of the Holocaust Victims Foundation, and another one is being prepared by the Czech Jewish Communities’ Federation (FZO).
FZO chairman Petr Papoušek said the FZO considers not only the calendar’s appearance but also its graphic design a step promoting Nazism and adoring its leaders who were Nazi war criminals.
Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that Meron showed interest in the case at their talks today.
“I told him that a criminal complaint has already been filed and that the Interior Ministry has terminated its contract for renting storage premises to the publisher. Such items have nothing to do among the Czech shops’ offer. They downplay the horrors of the Nazi regime and especially for Israel it must be sad to see them,” Petříček wrote to CTK.
Apart from Meron, the calendar was previously also criticized by the German ambassador to the Czech Republic.
The Denik N daily recently found out that the Interior Ministry has rented storage premises to the publisher via its subordinate organisation. It has abrogated the contract as of June 30, Denik N wrote this morning, citing Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (CSSD).
A contract with Naše vojsko has also been terminated by the Prague City Hall, which rented shopping space to it.
The city abrogated the contract by end-April, and the publisher has six months to leave the premises.
“We do not want our premises to host entrepreneurs whose business is definitely beyond the limit in terms of ethic,” Prague Councillor Jan Chabr (TOP 09) wrote to CTK.
Naše vojsko director Emerich Drtina said at the time that as a publisher he does not offer the items for sale with the aim of propaganda but in order to make profit.
The article was posted on the expatsCZ 

BREAKING NEWS: In Unprecedented Move 60 MEPs Call on MOGHERINI to Stop EU Funds and Isolate BDS Movement

A cross party group of 60 Members of the European Parliament have urged the EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief, Federica Mogherini to marginalize, both financially and politically organizations such as BDS (Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment) that are increasingly becoming a virulent source in the spread of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism under the pretense of exercising freedom of speech and association.

The unprecedented initiative, spearheaded by representatives of the four major political groups, MEP Cristian DAN PREDA, MEP Ioan Mircea Pascu (S&D, Romania) and a Vice-President of the  European Parliament, MEP Petras Austrevicius (ALDE, Lithuania), MEP Arne Gericke (ECR, Germany) “calls upon ensuring that no public funds go to organizations calling for a boycott of the State of Israel, and to instruct agencies not to engage with companies, organizations or other entities involved with the BDS movement”. 

MEP Cristian DAN PREDA, foreign affairs coordinator for the largest political group, the European People’s Party, and co-initiator of the letter underlined  his party’s  opposition to calls for the suspension of the bilateral agreements with Israel  as some of his extreme left wing colleagues echo directly from the BDS playbook.   “It’s in the interest of this House, and of our citizens, to see an upgrade in the partnership agreement with Israel. We should not allow the current stalemate in the peace process to dictate the terms of our relationship with Israel.”

Swedish MEP and President of EIPA’S political Board Lars Adaktusson – a co- signatory – underlined that “the Union, and the Parliament, is in danger of being deemed irrelevant as a peace broker if it fails to address the incitement on its own soil against Israel.”  

Vice President of the European Parliament, Ioan Mircea Pascu concluded that  “boycotting strategic ties with Israel,  a leader in the intelligence and defence international community, may prove counterproductive to the common security interests  of both EU and Israel”.

The 60 signatories, among which are Chair of Security and Defence, MEP Anna Fotyga (ECR, Poland), Vice-Preident Pavel Telicka (ALDE, Czech Republic), Dietmar Koster (S&D, Germany), Vice-Chair of Human Rights Beatriz Becerra (ALDE, Spain) urged their Foreign Affairs chief to “address the incitement to hatred and violence and discriminatory practice of calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.”

Europe Israel Public Affairs Founder Rabbi Menachem Margolin welcomed the initiative of the 60 MEPs: “Israel sometimes feels misunderstood by Europe, and this leads to a further strain on the relations. The European Parliament takes pride in its diversity, and we are glad to see such a wide support for investment, rather than divestment from something that has been for more than 3 decades a mutually advantageous bilateral relation”.

Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2006–2016

New extremely important report recently published by the EU Agency for Fundamental rights.
This report provides an overview of data on antisemitism as recorded by international organisations and by official and unofficial sources in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States, based on their own definitions and categorisations.
Antisemitism can be expressed in the form of verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage and graffiti or other forms of speech or text, including on the internet. Antisemitic incidents and hate crime violate fundamental rights, including the right to human dignity, the right to equality of treatment and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
This annual overview compiles the available evidence on antisemitic incidents collected by governmental and non-governmental sources, covering the period 1 January 2006– 31 December 2016, where data are available. In addition, it includes a section that presents evidence from international organisations. No official data on reported antisemitic incidents in 2016 were available for 11 Member States by the time this report was compiled in September 2017.
‘Official data’ are understood here as those collected by law enforcement agencies, other authorities that are part of criminal justice systems and relevant state ministries at the national level. ‘Unofficial data’ refers to data collected by civil society organisations.
for the full report click HERE

Noah's Ark - A Global Lockdown, 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.
This week in the Torah Portion we cover the story of Noah. 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.
Noah's Ark - A Global Lockdown
At 8:10 am, its Shabbat and suddenly the power went out. That is always difficult, but especially on Shabbat because I cannot call a breakdown service (even if the phone would still work).
Water for coffee and tea in the Shabbat kettle was nicely turned on Friday evening before the start of Shabbat, the meal for Shabbat afternoon was simmering in the slow cooker… lighting, freezer and refrigerator, heating ..... Nothing worked anymore.
I went to the electrical box to see if the earth switch was to blame. But even if this had been the case, there was still little I could have done: Shabbat! And then my Reformatorisch Dagblad newspaper popped through the mailbox.
I immediately opened the door and reported my electrical problem to the delivery person.
They immediately understood the problem. "I'll check what's going on, because you can't do that because of Shabbat!" He immediately went into the electrical box, could not find anything out of the ordinary and then went to see if there were also problems elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Five minutes later he was back and told me the whole neighbourhood had no power. At that moment the light came on again. How happy I was with my Reformatorisch Dagblad, which not only brings the newspaper, but also the light!
And so I went with confidence to the synagogue where the beginning of Bereshit was read, including: Then God said, "Let there be light" and there was light! For a moment I felt that the self-evident is not always so self-evident!
Next Shabbat: the story of Noah. Before the outbreak of the flood, Noah was instructed by G-d to go into the Ark. And when it was dry outside he had to leave that Ark again.
Why, the question is asked, should he be ordered to leave the Ark? It was dry anyway! The answer contains an important life lesson. In the Ark there was an atmosphere of real Shalom, similar to the period after the arrival of the Moshiach, so he did not consider leaving the Ark. Why go into the world with all its worries and misery?
But G-d clearly pointed out that isolation from society is wrong. In that world with all its trials, we have the task to serve Him by making a contribution to the society surrounding us, even if closing off would be more pleasant for us personally. So, no Jewish monasteries!
But before the flood began, Noah was instructed to just enter the Ark and shut himself off from that world. Without wanting to compare corona with the Flood, there are times when we, you and I, have to be right in the middle of the world to be ready for others. But there are also periods when we are temporarily not allowed to go outside, social distance. How long do we have to stay in? We do not know.
But just as Noah did not protest and stayed in the Ark when he was required to do so, so too we must stay in, even if we find it difficult. It is too dangerous outside. We should not play with health. This coming Shabbat this will be emphasized extra in all shuls in the world. Noah Had to Enter the Ark: The First Global Lockdown!

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