British voices front-and-centre as inaugural virtual Euro summit held!
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

British voices front-and-centre as inaugural virtual Euro summit held!

Executives, activists, presidents and professionals came together from Jewish communities across the world, with the legacy of Rabbi Lord Sacks among the discussion topics

Former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks.
(Blake-Ezra Photography Ltd)
Former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. (Blake-Ezra Photography Ltd)

The inaugural three-day e-Summit of Jewish leaders across Europe took place last week as digital connections were made across the continent.

Executives and activists including presidents, board members, volunteers and professionals came together from Jewish communities, federations, foundations and regional organisations in the first such virtual event.

Cultural and sporting association representatives mixed with those from Jewish museums, grassroots groups and innovative ventures, as delegates worked through common problems and possible solutions.

Among the organisations involved were Moishe House, BBYO, Hillel, Our Common Destiny, and Jewish cultural hub JW3, with organisers describing the e-Summit as “a space to discover how many communities used this challenge as an opportunity to change direction, pivot and grow”.

The summit was coordinated by the European Council of Jewish Communities and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and featured an address from Israeli Diaspora Minister Omer Yankelevich.

 

Cultural Highlights

Highlights included an interview with director Jonathan Jakubowicz, whose new biographical film Resistance starring Jesse Eisenberg was inspired by the life of Marcel Marceau, the mime artist who fought for the French Jewish resistance.

There was debate on film Resistance

LA-based Jakubowicz was in conversation with Andras Borgula, artistic director of The Golem Theater and Jewish Performing Arts Center, about the film released in the US before coronavirus lockdowns.

On the second day, delegates chose which city to go on a guided “Jewish-interest walking tour”, their options including Venice, Warsaw, Majorca, Prague, Rome, Barcelona and Berlin, while some songs were later performed by Kippalive.

In another high point, prominent Judaica curator Dr Yoel Finkelman showed online delegates some of the treasures from the National Library of Israel.

 

The Impact of Covid-19

Many sessions were dominated by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, the e-Summit providing an opportunity to hear how communities around Europe have adapted to the crisis.

Jewish educators from France, Britain and Israel told how the pandemic had hit the classroom, while experts from Belgium and Bulgaria spoke about its impact on mental health. 

Covid vaccine

US-based speakers gave advice about adapting Jewish rituals to “the age of Covid”, including “making sacred space at home”. Others told how the crisis affected relationships.

German speakers introduced a programme aimed at bringing German-Jewish families together during lockdown, while Moishe House explained how members have hosted programmes from their living rooms.

A British panel, including Kisharon’s Hilary Newmark, spoke about the impact on fundraising, while others explored how meditation and mindfulness in Jewish communities were “made better”. 

Elsewhere, Dr Jonathan Boyd from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research outlined the demographic trends helping to forecast the future of Europe’s Jews.

Digital Lounges for all

An innovative online set-up for the e-Summit allowed delegates to move between different digital “lounges” based on their interests, preferences
and language. 

Enchanting options, enticing names, and endearing descriptions included:

Sarah’s Tent – for women who are in leadership positions

Benjamin of Tudela – for “eternal travellers, migrants and the foreign-bound”

Le Pastis – dedicated to  those who are Francophones

Das Lokal – for those who are German speakers

The Stone Wall – LGBTQ+ lounge – “where there is more fun”

Studio 27 – “Half of Studio 54 but with great rhythm” – for Jewish communities that are small

HaPinah Shel Eliezer – for Israelis in Europe and those wanting “an express ulpan”

The HIP Shed – for the “young and cool who carry their organisation on
their sleeve”

The Oh-No Lounge – for people who are “allergic to Jewish stuff”

British Involvement

With speakers from Europe, Russia, the US and Israel, British voices were front and centre.

Among the most attended segments was a special eulogy on the opening night for the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died from cancer
earlier this month, and later a conversation with British Jewish historian Sir Simon Schama.

Delegates also heard Susie Gordon, director of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, talk about how Covid-19 had impacted the city’s community, which was “coming out of this situation stronger, despite having suffered significant losses”.

Elsewhere, conservationist Michael Mail spoke alongside Polish and Spanish peers on the “10 commandments for Jewish heritage”, former Jewish Volunteering Network director Leonie Lewis discussed the impact of the pandemic on interfaith work, and Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS) director Rabbi David Meyer highlighted how Jewish teachers had adapted to the disruption.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments