Jewish club invokes Hitler to dismiss woman’s discrimination claim
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Jewish club invokes Hitler to dismiss woman’s discrimination claim

'We do not define Jewish according to Hitler, but Jewish law,' European Centre for Jewish Students wrote in email rejecting half-Jewish Londoner's application

Monica Selo
Monica Selo

A Jewish social club has dismissed a woman’s claims she was discriminated against for not being matrilineally Jewish by referencing Adolf Hitler.

“[We do] not define Jewish according to Hitler, but according to Jewish law,“ the European Centre for Jewish Students (ECJS) wrote in an email to Monica Selo.

Selo, 27, from south London, who was born to a Jewish father, saw her application denied because she is not matrilineally Jewish and has not undergone a Halachic conversion.

Writing to ECSJ, Selo said she was a “Jew by religion and culture”, adding she felt “a strong and deep Jewish identity” and a “strong duty to carry on my Jewish heritage”.

She wrote: “My grandparents’ relatives perished in the Holocaust and I feel such a strong duty to carry on my Jewish heritage and not let generations of Judaism die out.”

“By disregarding somebody as a Jew because their mother is not Jewish or they did not undergo an orthodox conversion is racist and divisive.

“These kind of attitudes are weakening the Jewish community and cutting off Jews who feel strongly connected to their Jewish identity

In response to Selo’s email, Zev Ives, executive director of ECSJ, wrote: “I understand that you are upset and frustrated. Of course, this is a deeply personal matter for you. You mentioned the Holocaust a couple of times.

“For many reasons (however none of which include a desire to insult or offend anyone as you intimated), ECJS does not define Jewish according to Hitler, but according to Jewish law. “

Based in Brussels, the ECSJ is a social club for young Jewish professionals and students in the EU and offers group holidays, lectures, Shabbat meals and social and networking opportunities.

According to a statement on their website, ECSJ is a “nonprofit, apolitical organisation which caters to the needs and interests of all Jewish students and young professionals, regardless of background or affiliation.”

When approached for comment, Ives said: “As an Orthodox Jewish organisation, ECJS follows the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s definition of Jewish.

“That being said, ECJS caters to all Jews regardless of affiliation or background. Our participants are unaffiliated, traditional, and the whole spectrum in between. They come from all over Europe and beyond.”

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