While Europe has been shaken by the rise of extremist populist parties and an increasing threat is posed by radical Islamic terror and anti-Semitism, over 200 European Rabbis from across Europe (both within and beyond the European Union) met in Pomezia, in the Rome area, to discuss the challenges that Jewish communities face at this crucial time – 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome.
Organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), the conference had at least one special guest: Itzhak Yosef, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel.
Among the themes discussed by the Rabbis, who were also welcomed by the Jewish Community of Rome in their main synagogue, the rise of political populism and xenophobia, with the Netherlands as an example, the legal challenges and bans relating to religious freedom, the challenges posed by Jewish communities by large-scale assimilation, and the need to preserve their heritage.
“The study of Torah is the fundamental purpose of the Jewish people and is therefore the duty of every Rabbi to engage in this sense, to ensure that everyone has the tools to understand it, share it, love it. This goal is achievable only with a deep effort on education. It is our mission ever since we left the slavery of Egypt for the Promised Land,” rabbi Yosef stressed in the synagogue.