Rabbis meet to 'guarantee future of Europe's Jews'

Conference of European Rabbis launches committee in Athens, focusing on survival in Europe and ties with Muslims.

Yoni Kempinski, Athens ,

Conference of European Rabbis meeting
Conference of European Rabbis meeting

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) launched its biannual Standing Committee in Athens on Tuesday, and began the events with a meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

CER President Pinchas Goldschmidt expressed his thanks to Pavlopoulos for his support of the Greek Jewish community.

"I'm always open to the Jewish community and I am ready to give all possible assistance. Greek Jews suffered greatly during the Holocaust, and it is important for us to prevent the recurrence of events, keep the memory of the victims and promote awareness of antisemitism to ensure levels are reduced," said Pavlopoulos.

The first day of the committee discussed a report by Ariel Muzicant, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress. The report analyzed the status of Jewish communities in Europe, noting that there are about 200-250 Jewish communities in 39 countries across Europe.

Around 50% of the communities have under 5,000 members, leading the CER to create a special working group for small communities to allow them to cope with assimilation, anti-Semitism and regional instability.

Another topic that was discussed was Jewish-Muslim dialogue, following the formation of the Muslim Jewish Forum in Vienna last August.

In that conference, four principles of inter-religious dialogue were identified including an opposition to terrorism, and opposition to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, a goal of protecting religious rights, and a requirement for mutual respect.

"We know that anti-Semitism is prevalent in Greek society today," said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt. "However, the picture is not entirely bleak - the president is a good friend of the Jewish community and is ready to work with us to protect our freedom."

"This meeting will allow us discuss these issue in more depth and I hope that we can make important strides in guaranteeing the future of European Jewry."