European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek opened the Jewish New Year celebrations this week with the exhibition “Polin: Thousand Years of Jews in Poland” by the Polish Museum of the History of Polish Jews (MHPJ) under the Patronage of Polish Presidency of the European Council.
The reception was held at the European Parliament and organized by the European Jewish Union (EJU), the European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC) and the European Jewish Public Affairs (EJPA) in Brussels.
Joined by Ukrainian philanthropist Vadim Rabinovitch, EJU Vice-President, Rabbi Gershon M. Garelik, EJCC founder and Tomer Orni, EJU CEO, Rabbi Levi Matusof presented a golden plated shofar to the European Parliament President wishing him that "the Sound of Europe should be heard loud and clear", he ironically suggested to give it a try.
In front of an acclaimed joyful crowd of over 600, including some 50 members of the EP and diplomats from 16 countries, the president of the European Parliament presented his shofar blowing skills.
Referring to Rosh Hashana as a time for reflection on the past, Buzek said: “It is also a time of optimism for the year to come. Last year saw many changes in the world. Especially in the Middle East where the Arab Spring has brought a new hope - that peace can finally be achieve in the region."
He added that "real stability comes from democracy; and only democracies can guarantee a lasting peace."
Nehama Tawil, EJCC co-director in her opening remarks thanked the President for hosting this event. "This moment inspires much Hope to us. We are proud to belong to a Europe where all cultures have a respectful platform, not only to exercise their rights but also to share their joyous holidays with the extended European family."
On behalf of EJU's President Igor Kholomoisky, its CEO Tomer Orni announced the launching of Jewish New 1, a 24-hour worldwide broadcast satellite TV channel and the scheduled elections in October for the European Jewish Parliament, sole democratically elected Jewish representative body in Europe.
Corinne Evens, president of the European Association for the Polish Museum, urged the European community to support the museum and to turn it into one of the greatest museums of the world.
She thanked the Polish authorities and the EP president and former Polish prime minister for their partnership and engagement in this educative €21 million ($28 million) project to see light in 2015.
His Excellency Jan Tombinsky, ambassador of Poland to the EU and representative of the Polish Presidency to the EU, praised the great work of the Polish Museum and thanked the Jewish communities in Europe and in the world for helping the Museum keeping alive the memory of the History of Polish Jews who left a strong mark in the roots of the country.
To conclude the ceremony, Rabbi Avi Tawil, EJCC Director blew the shofar, traditionally the main symbol of the Jewish New Year.
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