Jewish men at a synagogue in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. . (photo credit:REUTERS)
 Jewish men at a synagogue in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. . (photo credit:REUTERS)
Jewish men at a synagogue in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. . (photo credit:REUTERS)

DNEPROPETROVSK – Forty percent of European Jews hide their identity, the Rabbinical Center of Europe and the European Jewish Association claimed on Monday.
The organizations, both of which are run by Menachem Margolin, a Chabad Rabbi from Brussels, stated that they had gathered their data from over eight hundred Rabbis and RCE members across the continent but did not provide any detailed explanation of how they arrived at the forty percent figure or of the study’s methodology.

According to Margolin, half a million Jews will attend prayer services for the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah this year at 1,353 synagogues.
“Half a million Jews will participate in prayers but million and a half Jews hide their Jewishness,” a press release by the RCE and EJA stated, adding that “there is 80% intermarriage among Europe’s Jewish communities, when compared with the total number of Jews.”

“The number of visitors in the synagogues increased by 17% compared to the same period last year.”

Three quarters of European Jewish children are not enrolled in Jewish schools and while “twice as many Jews are reported to attend synagogue prayers on Yom Kippur as on Saturdays throughout the year, 70% of Europe’s Jews choose not to go to the synagogue during the High Holidays,” Margolin said.

The rise in European anti-Semitism that occurred during Israel’s recent military incursion into the Gaza strip caused hundreds of Jewish parents to transfer their children into Jewish schools, he further claimed, without providing specific figures.

A 2013 study released by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights reported that a third of Jews polled in a number of EU countries refrained from wearing religious garb or Jewish symbols out of fear, and 23 percent avoided attending Jewish events or going to Jewish venues.

While 66% reported anti-Semitism as having a negative affect on their lives, 77% did not bother reporting abuse or harassment. Almost a third were mulling emigration as a response to heightened anti-Jewish sentiment.
“Despite what people might think, anti-Semitism does not strengthen our ties with Jews overseas,” Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett said prior to a cabinet meeting on anti-Semitism earlier this year.
“For every Jew who makes aliya as a result of anti-Semitism, there are many others who cut ties with Judaism and the Jewish way of life. Efforts to increase personal and community security must also be bolstered through the various funds and resources dealing with the matter.”

Anti-Semitic incidents increased 500% in one month in England during the recent Middle East conflict and increased representation by neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist factions in the European legislature has many continental Jews worried.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv in April, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor asserted that “normative Jewish life is unsustainable” in Europe without  decreased “fear and insecurity.”

via The Jerusalem Post


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