Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. January 25, 2019

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

On Thursday, NCSEJ Deputy Director Lesley Weiss and I met with a delegation of Hungarian officials led by State Secretary of Civil and Social Affairs Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky. Our discussion highlighted U.S.-Hungarian and Israeli-Hungarian relations, as well as the state of the Jewish community in the country. 

Today, we also attended the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield welcomed attendants and German Ambassador to the United States Emily Haber gave the keynote address. 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko conducted his third state visit to Israel on January 20-21 to oversee the signing of a free trade agreement between the two countries. While there, Poroshenko met with President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. For more information about Poroshenko's trip, please click HERE to read a summary prepared by NCSEJ Program Associate Jack Stein. 

NCSEJ congratulates Monika Krawczyk for her election to the Chairmanship of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland. We look forward to working with her on issues related to the Jewish community in Poland. 

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
From left to right: State Secretary of Civil and Social Affairs Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky, NCSEJ Deputy Director Lesley Weiss, and NCSEJ CEO Mark Levin
Washington, D.C. January 25, 2019

Europe’s Jews Have A Bleak Future, Community Leaders Say
By Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA, January 23, 2019

Jews have a bleak present — and future — in Europe because of anti-Semitism.

That was the unusually pessimistic view outlined by the continent’s Jewish community leaders at the European Parliament’s annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor in a speech read for him raised the possibility of Jews leaving Europe amid rising extremism.

And it wasn’t just European Jewish leaders: Jewish
Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog called the reality for European Jews “a raging crisis” and said that despite efforts to curb the anti-Semitism, one “can no longer ignore that Jews are unsafe walking the streets of Europe.”

Poland’s Main Jewish Umbrella Group Elects Its First Woman Leader 
By Katarzyna Markusz
JTA, January 23, 2019

The main Jewish umbrella group in Poland has elected its first woman leader.

Monika Krawczyk was chosen as the board chairman of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, which deals with restitution matters, among other issues.

“I think it is a great honor to take this position, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, but this circumstance is undoubtedly a historic moment,” Krawczyk told JTA after Sunday’s election.

Only One in Ten People in Bulgaria Sees Anti-Semitism As a Problem in the Country—Eurobarometer Poll
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer
Sofia Globe, January 22, 2019

Ten per cent of Bulgarians polled in a Eurobarometer survey said that antisemitism was a problem in the country, while 64 per cent said that it was not a problem.

The Eurobarometer survey, the results of which were released on January 22, was carried out through 1034 interviews in Bulgaria between December 4 and 16 2018.

Two per cent of Bulgarians polled said that they thought that antisemitism had increased in the country in the past five years. Eleven per cent said that it had decreased and 37 per cent said that it had stayed the same. Half of those asked replied “don’t know”.

Fifty-nine per cent said that they did not see the problem of Holocaust denial in Bulgaria while 16 per cent said that it was present.

Israel and Ukraine Sign Agreement for Free Trade
By Toi Staff
Times of Israel, January 22, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko announced Monday the two countries had signed a free trade agreement. The move is expected to lower import costs for Ukrainian products and increase exports.

“Today a free trade agreement was signed and we have been working on it for many years,” Netanyahu told a joint news conference in Jerusalem. He said the two would “also talk of other ways to increase our cooperation in a variety of fields — in technology, in health, in aerospace, in science and more.”

Jewish Gravestones Used As Stairs Removed from Lithuanian Church
By Aiden Pink
Forward, January 23, 2019

A Lithuanian church has removed the Jewish gravestones that had been serving as stairs and returned them to the cemetery where they likely originated from, an organization representing Lithuanian Jewry announced Monday.

The Protestant Evangelical Church in Vilnius had been converted by the Soviet regime to a movie theater in 1957 as part of an anti-religious purge. A few years later, the Uzupis Jewish cemetery was razed to make a quarry, and headstones found their way into construction sites around the city, including to help form a 30-foot-long staircase.

Moldova’s Remaining Jews Fight to Remember Those Lost 
By Eugenia Cretu
Balkan Insight, January 22, 2019

One day last month, in the main Jewish cemetery in the Moldovan capital Chisinau, a few volunteers busied themselves mowing grass, trimming trees and resetting dilapidated headstones.

The work was the initiative of the capital’s dwindling Jewish community, a preservation effort to protect the memory of its ancestors who once numbered many, many more.

The Moldovan government of Prime Minister Pavel Filip has announced a number of projects to highlight the past and present of Moldova’s Jewish community, including a museum of Jewish History that was announced in October and will be dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, and the restoration of the Chisinau cemetery.

Anti-Semitism, Neo-Nazism and the Jewish Community in Modern Ukraine
By Lev Gringuaz
The Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2019 

One Ukraine brings to mind rampant antisemitism, Nazis, the Holocaust, nationalist marches with swastikas and SS symbols, more than 130 antisemitic acts in 2017 and Jewish communities wiped out.

Another Ukraine evokes a Jewish prime minister, Sholom Aleichem, a reinvigorated post-Soviet Jewish community, Hillels in almost every major city, a new Jewish Community Center in Kiev and young Jews openly wearing Star of David necklaces.

People from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine’s fourth largest city, speak proudly of how huge their Jewish community is. And Odessa, the fourth most populous, is still considered a Jewish city – though Jews make up less than 3% of the population.

The Renaissance of Russian Jewry
By Sara Lehmann
Hamodia, January 20, 2019

Rabbi Goldschmidt’s influence reaches beyond Russia to Europe in his role as President of the Conference of European Rabbis. In that position, Rabbi Goldschmidt strives to preserve Jewish continuity in Europe, while providing political and legal guidance to Jewish communities. He has worked to battle legislation against bris milah and shechitah, raise the profile of security for Jewish institutions, and engage in interfaith dialogue with both Christians and Muslims.

Born in Zurich, Rabbi Goldschmidt is a musmach of Ner Israel Rabbinical College and h
as studied at Ponevez Yeshiva, Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago, Shevet Umechokek Institute for Rabbinical Judges and the Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research. In addition, he earned a Master’s Degree from John Hopkins University. Rabbi Goldschmidt speaks seven languages and has written extensively on issues regarding Jewish law both in Russia and Europe. He has also addressed the U.S. Senate, the EU Parliament, the Knesset, Oxford University, Harvard University, and other forums on Jewish communal life and the threat of anti-Semitism.

Read the full article here.

Study Finds Holocaust Revisionism Rampant in EU’s East
By Lili Bayer
Politico, January 25, 2019

Holocaust revisionism is worst in some of the EU's eastern members, according to a new study that argues governments are seeking to minimize the role of some in their country in the mass killing of Jews.

"Many European Union governments are rehabilitating World War II collaborators and war criminals while minimising their own guilt in the attempted extermination of Jews," the Holocaust Revisionist Report, which was sponsored by Yale University, Grinnell College and the European Union of Progressive Judaism, concluded.

"Revisionism is worst in new Central European members — Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Lithuania," the study found.

Netanyahu Asks Romania, Ukraine to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
By Ariel Kahana
JNS, January 20, 2019

Israel is moving full steam ahead with its efforts towards foreign recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital.

In a meeting with visiting Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă in Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called bilateral relations between the countries “fantastic,” saying that they would be made “even stronger” by her visit.

“I hope that you will act to stop the bad resolutions against Israel in the E.U., and also, of course, to move your embassy and other embassies to Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu. “We wait for you in Jerusalem.”

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.