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BBE sponsors portable school shelter for elementary school in Israel

BBE sponsors portable school shelter for elementary school in Israel

During last summer’s Gaza conflict, the BBE executive committee organized a Solidarity trip to Israel. As part of the program,…

Invitation to the 8th BBE Convention and BBI International Forum in Prague

Invitation to the 8th BBE Convention and BBI International Forum in Prague

B'nai B'rith Europe a divison of B'nai B'rith International Invitation to the 8th BBE Convention and BBI International Forum in…

Unveiling Ceremony of the plaque in memory of Erika van Gelder z"l

Unveiling Ceremony of the plaque in memory of Erika van Gelder z"l

On Sunday 3rd July, on the occasion of a reunion of the BBE Executive Committee and a visit from BBI executive, BBE…

B’nai B’rith Meets with European Commission Coordinator to Combat Anti-Semitism

B’nai B’rith Meets with European Commission Coordinator to Combat Anti-Semitism

B'nai B'rith Europe President Daniel Citone, B'nai B'rith Europe Vice-President Valerie Achache and B'nai B'rith International Director of EU Affairs…

Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

Yesterday, 1st October 2015, B'nai B'rith Europe held a working brunch in its renovated office with several organisations that were…

A delegation of B'nai B'rith leads MEPS on a mission to Israël

A delegation of B'nai B'rith leads MEPS on a mission to Israël

B’nai B’rith International led several members of the European Parliament on a five-day visit to Israel. This trip promoted the…

B'nai B'rith Young Professionals' Trip to Luxembourg

B'nai B'rith Young Professionals' Trip to Luxembourg

B'nai B'rith Europe and B'nai B'rith Young Professionals (BBYP) UK took a group of over 40 people to Luxembourg from…

Bridges of Tolerance

Bridges of Tolerance

A report of the event in Romania 3-5 June 2015

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Welcome to the B'nai B'rith Europe website


European Day of Jewish Culture 2013 in Belgrade

Article by Branko Snap, President of the B'nai B'rith Lodge Serbia

For the seventh time, the B'nai B'rith Lodge of Serbia organized and funded the celebration of the European Day of Jewish Culture. This year it was a concert given by the Jewish Chamber Orchestra and the Serbian-Jewish Choral Society of Baruch Brothers.

The Jewish Chamber Orchestra was founded in 2012 by Professor Ladislav Mezei in cooperation with the B'nai B'rith Lodge Serbia of which he is a member. The orchestra members are Jewish professional musicians and their friends. The orchestra is established with the aim to show to its environment the music of Jewish and non-Jewish composers who wrote on Jewish themes. Performances are related to the tradition, culture and history of the Jewish community of Serbia as part of Jewish Europe.

The Serbian-Jewish Choral Society Baruch Brothers from Belgrade was founded by the Jewish Community of Belgrade in 1879 as the Serbian Jewish Choral Society. After the Second World War, in 1952, the society renewed its work, adding to its name the memory of the three brothers from the Baruch family from Belgrade who perished in the Holocaust. It is believed to be the oldest active Jewish choir in the world, constantly performing both at home and abroad.

This year's concert was given at the Kolarac University, Belgrade's most prestigious concert hall. It was attended by over 800 people including the representatives of the Republic of Serbia, City of Belgrade, foreign embassies, celebrities and other public figures. All of the concerts have been free of charge.

Members of other lodges of B'nai B'rith Europe can enjoy this concert by watching the video hereunder



In close cooperation with the Frankfurt B'nai B'rith Schönstädt Lodge B'nai B'rith Europe organised the first Young Leadership Seminar this year from 18th to 20th October. Some 50 young people from many parts of the world participated (France, Turkey, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, Germany and even 4 delegates who came specifically from Argentine.)

One of the major reasons for the success of this seminar was the all-round support provided by our Treasurer Brother Kurt de Jong, and the organising team expresses its sincere thanks to him.

The proceedings began on Erev Shabbat in Frankfurt's main synagogue, followed by a Kabbalat meal in the rooms of the Frankfurt Lodge, where the participants were welcomed by Ralph Hofmann, John Reeves and young lodge members Sister Dr. Toni Singer, Jewgenij Singer, Vice-President of the Frankfurt Lodge and Dr. Adrian Strack, Lodge Council member. Participants were welcomed in every one of their languages, leading to a good deal of laughter. Allan J. Jacobs, President of B'nai B'rith International was present throughout the seminar. Sacha Stawski, Director of Honestly Concerned and organiser of this year's Israel Congress in Berlin, addressed the group on the subject of press reporting on Israel.

A Shabbat morning service was organised in the lodge premises, led by Rabbi Soussan, Rabbi Friberg and Beni Marokko. The serious part of the seminar began after the Kiddush with a discussion on "How do you build up the interests of young people in the lodge?" led by the younger lodge members Dr. Adrian Strack, Jewgenij Singer and Kirill Boguslavski. Lunch was followed by a discussion on the anti-Semitism prevalent in the various countries, in Russia, in Turkey and in France. Rabbi Soussan spoke of the difficulty encountered by many young Jews in finding a suitable partner.

A Question and Answer session, involving Allan Jacobs and Ralph Hofmann, produced some interesting questions such as:
• What was your route to the Presidency?
• How do you think lodges can attract young people?
• Do you think that lodges should have quotas on matters of gender?
• Should lodges have age limitations for their Council members?
• What is your view of Jewry in the diaspora?
• How do you see the relationship with the State of Israel?

Jewgenij Singer had put these questions together. The two Presidents gave their views which showed up some of the different standpoints between USA and Europe.

Participants were particularly impressed by the talk by Stephan Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Committee of Jews in Germany. His subject was "Lobbying" and he emphasised the vital need for Jews to speak with one voice if one wished to achieve results.

The Havdala ceremony, led by John Reeves, and accompanied on the piano by Marina Lebenson, was particularly moving. Dinner was followed by party time on a party boat, "King Kameah Boat", with all sorts of music, including Israeli music, and entertainment, lasting well into the early hours. Despite the late night, everybody turned up next day at 11-30 for the concluding discussion which contained one important message: the number of participants for such a seminar – 50 people – is absolutely right to enable people to get to know each other and to establish worthwhile contact.

The weekend concluded with a fascinating sightseeing tour led by Rabbi Andrew Steinmann visiting old Jewish Frankfurt. The old ghetto of Frankfurt was the oldest of Europe and traces remain to this day.

                                 A Happy Sightseeing Group

This was a seminar for young people, run by young people, who found the whole experience very worthwhile. The Frankfurt team has decided to repeat the exercise next year, again limiting the numbers to about 50. They deserve our appreciation and congratulations.

Summary of a report by Simone Hofmann


B'nai B'rith pauses to recognize the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht—the Night of Broken Glass.

Across Germany and Austria on Nov. 9-10, 1938, at least 96 Jews were murdered; more than 1,000 synagogues were set on fire, nearly 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed, and countless community centers, libraries and homes were attacked, looted and destroyed. About 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

These horrific acts marked the beginning of the Nazi genocide against the Jews of Europe.

We must work to ensure the passing of time never undermines the memory of what occurred.


Bucharest, Romania - 20-22 October 2013 By Erika Van Gelder

The project Bridges of Tolerance was extremely well received by the Romanian public (Jews and most importantly by non-Jews), by the government, by the Romanian Parliament, by the Press and by National Television. None of this would have been possible without our brother, colleague and friend Jose Iacobescu, President of the Forumul Dr. Moses Rosen, Bucharest. His extensive network helped to open the doors of the Parliament, of the Ministry of Culture, of the Institute of Romanian Culture, of the Mayor of the city of Bucharest, of the General Director of the Romanian Athenaeum and of many others, too numerous to mention. These were the co-sponsors of the project. I must also mention the two Jewish organizations, the Federation of the Jewish Communities, Romania and the Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania "Elie Wiesel" who assumed the responsibility of organizing and sponsoring one workshop each.

The opening ceremony

The opening at the Romanian Athenaeum was amazing. If you are interested in a virtual tour you could go to: http:// tour.fge.org/ro. It seats 800 people and it was completely full. After opening speeches by Jose Iacobescu, by myself and by the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament, Valeriu Zgonea, the Romanian Doctors Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the Romanian Symphony performed for more than one hour. After the concert, champagne and hors d 'oeuvres were served for 800 people. The TV was also present and took interviews. The realization of such a grandiose event was made possible through the sponsorship of the Romanian Parliament, the Philharmonic Orchestra George Enescu, the Institute of Romanian Culture (among others). 

Valeriu Zgonea
There is a DVD about the whole event you can watch hereunder.



by Prof. Erich Leitenberger, Press Officer

As a signal of close friendship between Christians and Jews, "the Menorah for outstanding humanitarian achievement" was presented to the Archbishop of Vienna.


Vienna, 23rd October 2013. On Tuesday evening, the Palace of Vienna's Archbishop saw the festive presentation of the B'nai B'rith Europe "Menorah for outstanding humanitarian achievement" to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. The Archbishop was greatly moved by this honour from a Jewish organisation. "There are many things which we want in common," he said, "such as the respect for freedom, the respect for the religious beliefs of every person". In this context Schönborn said that the discussions concerning circumcision had perplexed him greatly since this was a matter of freedom of religion and therefore one of the pillars of every democratic state. There are also many things which Christians and Jews together do not want" the Cardinal stressed. "We do not want to see anti-Semitism raising its head again, we do not want to see people being despised, we do not want to see the spread of violence and intolerance and we do not want to see a repeat of what happened on 9th November 1938 when synagogues were burning in Vienna." His links to the Jewish community are a part of his family history, explained Schönborn. His mother brought him and his siblings up "with a great love of Judaism and of Israel". That is why he now wants to continue the work started by his predecessor Cardinal Franz König in his efforts to build bridges between the two religions. In conclusion, the Archbishop of Vienna recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah: "From Zion goes out the law" (Isa. 2,3). In the Ten Commandments the Menorah lights the way for all people.



Jews will never be forgiven the Holocaust says Booker Prize Winning Author in Jerusalem Address

L.to R. Dr. Haim V. Katz, Chairman B'nai B'rith World Center, H.E. Matthew Gould, British Ambassador to Israel, Howard Jacobson,Alan Schneider, Director B'nai B'rith World Center.

Award-winning British writer and columnist Howard Jacobson delivered on October 7 the B'nai B'rith World Center 'Jerusalem Address' entitled "When will Jews be forgiven the Holocaust?" in Jerusalem. The event was chaired by B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman, Dr. Haim V. Katz and concluding remarks were made by British Ambassador H.E. Matthew Gould.

In his address, Jacobson argued that anti-Semites sought to deny the Holocaust and hid behind criticism of Israel, to both disguise and excuse the guilt of their anti-Jewish sentiment.


Mass escape of Jews from Nazi-occupied Denmark

By Ellen Otzen BBC World Service


Seventy years ago this month, an extraordinary mass escape happened from Nazi-occupied Denmark. Tipped off about German plans to deport them to concentration camps, almost the entire Jewish population - several thousand people - fled their homes and left the country.

As he stepped onto the fishing boat that was meant to carry them across the Baltic sea to safety, 14-year-old Bent Melchior feared he might never see his home again.


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