European Jews hold virtual memorial event for coronavirus victims

Arutz Sheva to broadcast European Jews' virtual memorial event in memory of thousands of Jewish Corona victims from across the continent.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rabbi Menachem Margolin
Rabbi Menachem Margolin
Yoni Kempinski

Like much of the world, the coronavirus epidemic has also badly affected Jewish communities throughout Europe, which have been counting thousands of deaths and thousands of infections since the beginning of the crisis.

In France alone, the death toll among the vast Jewish community is estimated at well over 600. The logistical challenges of isolation procedures in European countries have made it difficult for many Jewish communities from across the continent to connect with the victims of COVID-19, and, in many cases, to even attend the funerals of their deceased loved ones.

Along with dealing with the repercussions of the virus, many Jewish communities throughout the continent are reporting alarming increases in anti-Semitic propaganda that attributes the coronavirus to Jews, as well as dealing with fears of possible government cuts in Jewish institution security budgets.

In order to overcome the challenge and allow European Jews to commemorate loved ones, the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the Rabbinical Center of Europe have initiated the launch of a webinar memorial event in memory of Jewish coronavirus victims.

The event will take place on Wednesday, July 8, at 8:00p.m. EST, on the Zoom platform. Prior to the event, Jewish National Fund Chairman Danny Atar announced that a tree would be planted in memory of each of the Jewish coronavirus victims, in JNF's European Forest.

The event will include remarks on behalf of the Israeli government by Minister of the Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich (Blue and White), and the reading of Yizkor prayer and chapters of Psalms by Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau and Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef.

Among the prominent European Jewish community leaders who will speak in the event are Paris Chief Rabbi Michel Gugenheim, President of the French Consistoire Joel Mergui, CEO of the Federation of Synagogues in the UK Avi Lazarus, President of the Jewish Community of Rome Ruth Dureghello, Vice President- Jewish Community of Madrid Andy Ergas, President of the Jewish Community of Brussels Philippe Markiewicz, President of the Forum of Jewish Organizations of Antwerp and Vlaanderen in Belgium Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny, Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, President of the Jewish Community of Milan Milo Hasbani, Vice President of the Jewish community of Barcelona Raymond Forado, and dozens of other European community leaders.

Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who initiated the memorial event, noted: "Similar to other disasters affecting the Jewish people, the corona epidemic has severely damaged many Jewish communities across Europe on one hand, but has strengthened our belief that 'all of Israel vouch for each other.'"

"Parallel to dealing with the crisis, we are witnessing daily acts of strength of the Jewish People and are witnessing countless acts of kindness and mutual support within Jewish communities across the continent. And so, the memorial event we are holding is intended to both commemorate the victims of the plague as well as to strengthen their hands and cherish the activities of Europe's Jewish communities."

The conference is open to the public but requires pre-registration.