Words for Pesach by the Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin

April 24, 2020

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!

Additional Articles

The EJA welcomes the ascendancy of King Charles III to the throne

As Queen Elizabeth II is laid to rest following seven decades of public service, the EJA welcomes the ascendancy of King Charles III to the throne. As Prince of Wales, Charles was a great friend of British Jewry, familiar and respectful of our faith and customs and above all deeply supportive of our communities. As King Charles III stewards the UK forwards into a new era, we wish him strength, fortitude and health.


“They are tracking flights from Israel and knocking on doors to identify Jewish homes”, “I must wear a bullet proof vest to take my children to school”, “Jew hate that I haven’t witnessed since the Holocaust”, just some of the comments relayed to Commission Vice-President Schinas and the EU Co-ordinator for combatting for antisemitism Katharina Von Schnurbein today.

(Brussels, 8 November) A delegation of Senior Jewish Leaders affiliated to the European Jewish Association (EJA) that represents hundreds of Jewish Communities across the continent held an emergency meeting with the European Commission Vice-President responsible for the portfolio of Combatting antisemitism, Mr Margaritis Schinas in his offices in Brussels today along with the EU’s Co-ordinator for Combatting antisemitism and fostering Jewish life Katharina Von Schnurbein.

At the meeting with Vice-President Schinas and Co-ordinator Von Schnurbein, Mr Schinas gave a commitment to expedite the process of providing emergency security to Jewish Communities left reeling by an unprecedented surge in antisemitism across the continent.

Ms Ellen Van Praagh, Vice-Chaiir of the EJA and Chair of Holland’s interprovincial Rabbinate (IPOR) told the Commission Vice-President,

“We are facing an unbelievable tide of hatred and there is genuine fear for our lives. We have in Holland a situation where some Palestinian supporters are actively tracking flights coming into Schiphol to identify Jews, we have the same people knocking on doors of houses to identify Jewish Households. Our buildings are being vandalised and defaced. This is pure intimidation, and we fear the worst is coming.”

Baroness Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny, Vice-Chair of the EJA and Chair of Forum of Jewish organisations of Antwerp (FJO), who survived the Holocaust as a ‘hidden child’, said

 “Vice-President, the levels on antisemitism, in the media, on social media and in the public domain are levels I haven’t seen since I was a child. We are in a very dangerous place right now, and it feels like a tipping point. Jews are once again in the crosshairs of those who hate us, and this time they think they can get away with it using the conflict as cover.”

 Mr Gabriel Senderowicz, Member of the Jewish Leader’s board of the EJA, and President of the Jewish Community of Porto gave his personal assessment,

 “I am here today only because I received permission from the security services to travel. I have been warned that my life is in danger, and today, in the Europe of the 21st Century, I must wear a bullet proof vest to take my child to school and go about my daily life. My crime? I’m a Jew.”

 The delegation was led by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman of the European Jewish Association who said in a statement after the meeting,

 “In the meeting I made it clear to the Vice-President that communities did not have the luxury of time for form-filing and EU bureaucracy to better secure themselves when their very lives are under threat.

 “Our communities need support, they need security, and they need it yesterday. We welcome the commitment given by Vice-President Schinas to expedite the process of emergency provisions to secure Jewish communities across the continent.”

 EJA Managing Director Georgios Papadakis added,

 “We understand that the European Commission must help provide urgent humanitarian aid to Gaza, but surely it is incumbent upon them to provide protection and security for their own citizens who are facing a veritable tidal wave of the oldest hatred – that of antisemitism.” Ends  


The campaign with the portrait of Mr. Soros

The delegation who met with Orban included general director of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, and Hungarian Rabbis Baruch Oberlander and Shlomo Kovesh, the latter of whom is head of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation.
The meeting followed the inauguration of the opening of a new kosher slaughterhouse in the country, for which they thanked the prime minister for his “commitment to freedom of religion and to the eradication of antisemitism.”
“Though the campaign with the portrait of Mr. Soros is not necessarily very elegant, it has absolutely no relation with, and does not make any mention or even hint to his Jewish origin,” Margolin told the Post on Sunday. “When this claim came up a few times, the government has made it clear that it rejects any means of trying to connect this argument with people’s ancestry.”

In response to the European Commission’s publication of a Communication on “No place for hate: a Europe united against hatred”

In response to the European Commission’s publication of a Communication on “No place for hate: a Europe united against hatred”, Rabbi Menachem Margolin Chairman of the European Jewish Association, which represents hundreds of Jewish Communities across the continent, said:

“We welcome the seriousness and diligence with which the European Commission have approached this communication. It is a serious document.

“In particular, we welcome the bringing forward of the call for proposals under the Internal Security Fund, initially scheduled for 2024, forward to 2023, which puts a focus on Jewish places of worship, with an increased budget. However, as I personally expressed to the Commission in meetings, the process must be expedited as soon as possible. With a clear and present danger to Jewish Communities everywhere in Europe right now, our communities don’t have the time for lengthy form-filling and procedures, we need help with security yesterday, not in months from now on completion of a process.

“Perhaps the biggest part of this communication is the proposal to extend the list of Treaty crimes to include hate speech and hate crime. If this is directly linked with the IHRA definition of antisemitism as it should be, it could be a game changer.

This communication has a lot of good in it. We are still working through the detail, but it is a very welcome communication.”

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