EJC Executive Vice-President and CEO Raya Kalenova took part in an online conversation with the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry (NCSEJ).
The event, which took place online, was entitled: ‘One Year Later: The Impact of the Coronavirus on European Jewry’ and touched upon the most crucial topics affecting European Jewry today, one year into the current global pandemic.
The event was moderated by NCSEJ Vice-Chairman and CEO, Mark B. Levin.
Following introductory remarks by NCSEJ Chairman Jim Schiller, Ms. Kalenova introduced the work of the EJC: “Our communities face very diverse challenges, from security issues and attacks on religious freedoms to antisemitism. As such, we need a strong voice, a voice that is heard and respected, and most importantly, an effective voice.”
Referring to the work of the NCSEJ, she added: “I know that your mission is similar to ours and that is why we get along. We are both concentrated on the wellbeing of our most vulnerable communities.”
Ms. Kalenova described the EJC’s efforts in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic: “From one day to the other, we had to shift our focus, to helping Jewish communities across Europe survive this crisis.”
“Throughout the pandemic, our communities showed fantastic resilience. They reorganised, adapted and mobilised to help each other and to protect the most vulnerable,” she explained.
Mr. Levin praised the work of the EJC in the last year assisting Jewish communities cope with the ongoing crisis.
On the issue of antisemitism, Ms. Kalenova detailed the progress that has been achieved at the policy level in the fight against antisemitism in the last few years: “Recent policy developments have been a game changer, but nevertheless the situation in Europe is still deeply concerning.”
Emphasising the importance of cooperation with law enforcement authorities, Ms. Kalenova praised the work of the Security and Crisis Center (SACC) by EJC: “Thanks to the amazing work of , police officers are better able to understand the needs of the Jewish community and identify antisemitic hate crime when it happens.”
Discussing the EJC’s role in fostering relations between Israel and Europe, Mr. Levin reminisced on the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, the largest diplomatic event in the history of the state of Israel, an initiative of EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor.
Finally, Ms. Kalenova thanked the NCSEJ for its active role fostering Jewish life and promoting good international relations in the region of former Soviet countries since 1971.