CER: Wave of Antisemitism Is a Danger to European Jewry – Leadership Must Take Action

By Hamodia Staff

The standing committee of the Conference of European Rabbis opened Monday at the Jewish community center in Lyon, France. Chief Rabbis, heads of Rabbinical courts, and judges from across Europe, led by the conference’s President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt and the chairman of the standing committee Rabbi Menachem Gelley, gathered to discuss issues concerning European Jewish communities amidst rising antisemitism.

Guest of honor Harav Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, Rosh Yeshivah of the Chevron Yeshivah in Yerushalayim and president of the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin, will deliver a shiur on the teachings of Harav Avraham Eliyahu Kaplan, marking 100 years since his passing.

Rabbi Goldschmidt emphasized that EU member states need to “talk less and do more” to protect European Jewry. He reviewed the conference’s activities with EU institutions and the manifesto published ahead of the EU elections, urging leaders to commit to fighting antisemitism with renewed vigor.

On the eve of the conference, the Conference of European Rabbis held a joint meeting with the Bavarian government at the EU offices in Brussels to discuss the future of European Jewry amidst rising antisemitism online and in public spaces. The meeting included 130 senior EU stakeholders, French and Bavarian government representatives, and Jewish and European leaders.

French Minister for the Fight Against Discrimination Aurélie Berger stated that the French government is committed to fighting religious extremism and hate speech, including antisemitism in all its forms.

Rabbi Goldschmidt noted that the EU has committed to combating antisemitism and protecting Jews, but emphasized that national governments must implement necessary measures, such as increasing penalties for hate crimes, enhancing security at Jewish institutions, and combating antisemitism on social networks. He also called for greater legal protection for Jewish religious practices, including kosher slaughter and circumcision.

Rabbi Menachem Gelley announced that due to high demand, the European Beth Din will expand to additional countries in Eastern and Western Europe. He reiterated that conversions must be conducted according to halachah and approved procedures.

Rabbi Moshe Lebel emphasized the conference’s commitment to the guidance of great Rabbis and promoting Torah study as a response to antisemitism.

The conference opened with prayers for the peace of Israel and its soldiers, and tefillos for the return of the captives and the recovery of the wounded. Discussions included the rise of antisemitism, the European Commission’s security budget, religious commandments, and the state of Jewish communities in Europe.

Gadi Gronich, CEO of the conference fund, praised the Consistoire in Lyon for their assistance and the French security services for ensuring the conference’s security.

Lyon’s Jewish community, led by Rabbi Daniel Dahan, is one of Europe’s most significant, with about 40,000 Jews in more than 50 communities. The city has numerous shuls, yeshivos, mikvaos, kosher establishments, and educational institutions, including the Nachalat Moshe yeshivah ketanah and the Chabad school, educating around 2,000 children.

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