I just came back from the Berlin meeting of the Conference of European Rabbis, the twenty-eighth conference of the CER, marked ‘family, rabbi and community’, and marking a decade to the founding of the Conference of Orthodox Rabbis of Germany. At the top of the conference discussions are: the topic of Jewish rights in the continent – with an emphasis on ritual slaughter and circumcision, and practical ways to relieve the problem of agunos (abandoned wives).
[UPDATED 20131113 @ 16:35 GMT: added report on three way agreement between CER, RCA and Israeli CR, video greetings and greetings from Vatican.]
About 200 prominent European rabbis and dayanim, and heads of Jewish organizations in thirty countries are participating in the conference held at the Holiday Inn Hotel, in the center of Berlin. The conference lasted three days, until Tuesday, the ninth of Kislev.
First, a blurb about our 75 Years Kristallnacht memorial celebration at the Beth Zion synagogue and Lauder yeshiva center, from a rather comprehensive report of the conference (BeChadrei Chareidim):
Rabbi Goldschmidt addressed the topical issues: “I’m ready to take things a step further and state that the new campaign against Jewish customs in Europe is anti-Semitism of a ‘politically correct’ type… Marlene Rupprecht, who introduced the legislation in the Council of Europe, said explicitly that “circumcision is the dark side of the Jews.”
In the moving ceremony, participants heard the first- hand testimony of a Holocaust survivor, Elie Pachler, now an elderly man about 90 years old, who as a boy, watched how the Beis Midrash where the ceremony took place, was set on fire. The man benched ‘Shehechiyanu’, and an eight year old boy who made aliyah from the Ukraine, sang before the large crowd “vehi she’amda”. Other speakers were: Chief Rabbi of Israel, Hagaon Rabbi David Lau, president of the Zentralat of German Jews, and World Jewish Congress President, Ronald Lauder.
Germany’s Interior Minister, Hans Peter Friedrich, said at the ceremony that the German government is committed that Jews will live openly and without any restrictions of preserving their rights. “The 110 thousand Jews here in Berlin are pride for us,” he said. The fact that there are Neo-Nazis in Germany is a terrible thing, and the public as well as the authorities denounce them and fight against them.
CER president Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt’s and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland’s speeches at the CER gala evening at the Berlin Jewish Museum on Monday 11th of November.
This report has a nice video with particular emphasis of our midnight visit at the Brandenburg Tor and the Holocaust Mahnmal memorial.
Video greetings from prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuri Eidelstein at the end of this post.
Some other reports:
- IN PHOTOS: Hundreds Of Orthodox Rabbis Join Candlelight Procession To Commemorate Kristallnacht
- The first time in Berlin: Hundreds of rabbis at the Conference of European Rabbis
- Israel Congress and European rabbis events open in Berlin
- Council of Europe chief reassures rabbis on ritual circumcision