European Jewish Association

About

It’s a challenging time for Jewish communities in Europe. Anti-Semitism is on the rise as populism and the politics of the lowest common denominator are gaining traction. Our communities often need round the clock protection and our practices and customs such as keeping Kosher are under pressure from increasing political interference.

The European Jewish Association was set up to deal with these and many other challenges.

Acting on your behalf, we are the leading, biggest and widest reaching Associations of Jewish organizations and communities in Europe.

Our associates represent hundreds of communities and thousands of Jews across the continent. We believe that there is strength and influence in numbers.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple:

  • • To strengthen Jewish Identity and expand Jewish activities in Europe.
  • • To defend Jewish interests in Europe.

We love being Jewish. We love the contribution we have made to the betterment of the world.

We don’t believe in a ‘behind closed doors’ Judaism, but instead one that reaches out across religious and cultural divides. A Judaism that engages, that influences, that matters.

We also seek to instill some pride and joy in people on their Jewish journey, from old hands to first timers and everyone in between.

In short, we exist for you.

Wherever you are in Europe and whoever you are; if you are a community or an individual we invite you to find out more about us, our work and why we do it.

Above all we invite you to join us and be part of the leading Jewish voice in Europe.

What we do

Based in the beating democratic and political heart of the European Union – Brussels, we have built lasting and meaningful contacts with the key decision makers and opinion formers in the Council, Commission, Parliament and various permanent representations and embassies. We also work closely with the Mission of Israel to the EU, standing up for Israel, promoting the world’s only Jewish State and creating political initiatives that run against Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

We count Commissioners, special envoys, MEPs and ambassadors as our friends, colleagues and people who we can call on for help and support.

We also lobby on behalf of Jewish communities from Portugal to Ukraine and everywhere in between, whether that’s defending the rights of Jewish Students to observe Jewish holidays, fighting against bans on Shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter), promoting and supporting Jewish holidays and traditions, securing and safeguarding Jewish communities, schools, synagogues, Mikvot, and representing communities on Committees, at conferences and high level consultations within the European Institutions.

We also undertake events, celebrations and information sessions in the European Institutions. From Euro-Chanukah, Holocaust Memorial day, to cross community initiatives, we put Jews front and centre in any European conversation affecting minority groups and minority interests.

You can find out in much more detail about our work in the various sections of this website.

Thank you for dropping by and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Our leadership

Rabbi Menachem Margolin

Chairman and the founder of European Jewish Association

Since graduating from Yeshiva in New York, Rabbi Margolin’s became program director at the Rabbinical centre for Europe in 2004, he quickly became general director in 2006, then four years later he became General Director of the European Jewish Association – Europe’s centre of Jewish activity.

Spearheading the direction and activities of this umbrella organisation and representing Jewish communities and organisations across Europe, Rabbi Margolin ensures that the EJA effectively lobbies European and national politicians to raise the profile of and support its initiatives to fight against anti-Semitism and intolerance and preserve religious ritual practice across EU member states.

Our Advisory Board

MEP Boris Zala

Advisory Board Member

Boris Zala is a Slovak social democratic politician, a member of Slovak parliament and the current Chairman of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He is also Assistant Professor at Constantine the Philosopher University (UKF) in Nitra and Chair of the Political Science and European Studies Department at UKF’s Faculty of Philosophy.

Zala graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of the Comenius University in Bratislava in 1979. After graduation he proceeded with his study of philosophy and received his PhDr degree (1981) and CSc degree (1995) from the same university. Since 2000 he has been Chair of the Political Science and European Studies Department at UKF’s Faculty of Philosophy in the western Slovak city of Nitra. He is author of six philosophy, political science and history monographs and has written dozens of research studies and papers dealing with social science issues.

Zala became a Member of Parliament in 1990. He was elected a Member of Parliament for the second time in 2002 and re-elected again in the 2006 parliamentary elections. In 2002-2006 he sat on the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and on the Special Oversight Committee for the Slovak Intelligence Service. In the 2006 elections, Zala was elected Chairman of the Slovak parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and took over as head of the Slovak parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Presently, he is a member of the Council of Europe’s Political Affairs Committee, of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) and Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly. He was also a member of the Convent for the preparation of a new EU Constitution Treaty. His political activity focuses primarily on foreign policy and EU integration issues and on dialogue between civilisations, both in the context of Slovak politics as well as within larger European and EU frameworks. Zala’s chief responsibility in his political party includes policy planning and strategy issues.

 

MEP Stefano Maullu

Advisory Board Member

Mr. Stefano Maullu is a Member of the European Parliament since 2015, part of the European People’s Party.

He is Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, and Member of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.

During these years, he actively worked on several political initiatives aimed to restore a constructive dialogue between Brussels and Moscow.

Previously Mr. Maullu worked as a Regional Councillor for the Lombardy region. He has also been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Outer Ring Road in Milan

Maximillian Marco Katz

Advisory Board Member

In his current position Mr.Katz is the Vice-President of the Zionist Movement, Romania (ASR)

Mr. Maximillian Marco Katz was Born in Romania in 1959

with a background of Master in Tourism Business Administration and Management he was always involved with the Jewish affairs in Romania. 

In 2002 he became The Founding Director of MCA Romania – The Center for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism in Romania

In 2011 he was a Founding member of the Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Romania and since 2015 he is also The vice-president of the Romanian Zionist Association (ASR)

 

Joël Rubinfeld

Advisory Board Member

In his current position Mr. Rubinfeld is the President of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and President of the Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan

Since the early 2000s, Joël Rubinfeld has been actively involved in the fight against anti-Semitism and in Middle Eastern issues, being successively Secretary-General of the Belgium-Israel Friendship Society, President of the Jewish Community of Belgium, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress and Co-Chairman of the European Jewish Parliament.

As an expert on issues related to the Middle East and anti-Semitism, Joël Rubinfeld is regularly interviewed by the European and international media, and lectured on these matters at universities in Europe, Israel and the United States as well as at the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress. He is the author of the Belgian chapter of the book “Les habits neufs de l’antisémitisme en Europe” (Editions Café Noir, 2004, France).

Doctor Ferenc Olti

Advisory Board Member

In his current  position Doctor Olti is an educational coordinator and negotiator for 16 Jewish Organizations in Hungary.

As a Doctor of Technical Sciences, Ferenc Olti held many positions in a number of Banks and Universities across Hungary through out the years, finishing his last position in 2017 as the Local representative of SOFGEN, a Swiss Banking Software Company based in Hungary.

Since 1998, Doctor Olti decided to engage more deeply and support the Jewish community of Hungary. Taking a position of a board member with various organizations; ECJC, EMIH, Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association, Hungarian Jewish Social Aid Fund, and Israeli Cultural Institute in Hungary.

Later on. he also became the Presidant of Scheiber Sandor Cultural Fund and the Chairman of Keren Hayesod Hungaria Foundation

His vast knoladge in technology alowed Doctor Olti to become the Curator the exhibition “Jews and Hi-Tech; from Einstein till today” implemented in the newly renovated Synagogue in Balatonfüred, Hungary.

He is also a writer of 2 Books, and 35 papers.

 

Borris Oks

Advisory Board Member

In his current position Mr. Oks is the Director for Development and Commercial Director of the Tallinn Non-ore Materials Plant, Estonia.

Outside of business, Mr. Oks has a rich history of public work in the Jewish community of Estonia.

Boris Oks did a great deal of work as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia, a position to which he was elected in 2004.

He carried out work on the return to the community of all its previously owned property on Karu Street, Luise Street and Rahumäe Street. Upon his petition, the community received financial compensation for the land plots on the Magasini Street and on the Narva Highway.

Oks developed a digital plan for the Jewish cemetery and carried out an inventory of graves. This has become the first such digital mapping carried out in Estonia.

He contributed to the transfer of the Jewish cemetery’s territory to the City of Tallinn, as a result of which the community ceased to bear the huge costs of caring for the cemetery.

Under the leadership of Boris Oks, monuments to the victims of the Holocaust and the victims of deportations were renovated at the cemetery.

He did a huge work on the construction of a new building of the Tallinn synagogue. The beginning of construction was preceded by a competition for the selection of architects for the building – a competition amongst firms that wanted to carry out the construction work. Boris Oks inspected the construction process, while all the construction stages had been carried out under his daily supervision.

Oks did a great deal of work on getting a grant for a major renovation of the Tallinn Jewish School, which was done for the first time ever since the school building’s construction. A modern sports ground was built near the school.

In 2008, the President of Estonia awarded Boris Oks for his great public work with an Order of the White Star IV class.

Doctor Emil Avramov Kalo

Advisory Board Member

In his current position Doctor Kalo is the chair of WORT Audit and Risk Committee, Bulgaria.

As a Doctor for science, Avramov Kalo began his way at the academy, as a scientist. His first formal position for a Jewish organization was in 1994, when he became the president of B’nai B’rith- Bulgaria.

Later on in 1998 , he became the president of the organization of the Jews in Bulgaria.

Throughout the years Doctor Kalo has contributed a great deal to the Jewish communities of Bulgaria, working for many organizations; “Shalom”, Bulgarian Jewish Community, has served on the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Problems – where he was the vice-chairman, and the World Jewish Congress where he was the vice-president.

Doctor Kalo was also active as the Member of  the Union of Bulgarian writers and as the  Representative of The Ministry of Interior in the National Comission for Roma Integration.

Jacob Max (Jaap) Hartog

Advisory Board Member

Mr. Jacob Max (Jaap) Hartog is the former the President of Ipor and NIK, Holland.

Born and raised in Holland, Mr. Max was always involved and active in his community. in his younger years he have been active in B’nei Akiva. later on he was working in the textile-waste business while staying a key member of the community.

Mr. Max has been the president of the Jewish Congregation of Enschede for 25 years in which period he had managed to restored the shul of Enschede of which people say it is the nicest from Western-Europe, he had also managed to restored the cemetery  of Enschede and the mikva. through their activities they were also able to merged the 3 kehillot Enschede, Hengelo and Almelo together and formed the Jewish Congregation of Twente.

Later on Mr. Max was asked to become the president of Ipor and after that to became the president of the NIK which is the Organisation of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands.

Mr. Max is now living in Amsterdam, along with his wife, Elize Zanten. He is also a father to 2 children and a happy grand father to 6 grand-children.

Kalman Szalai

Advisory Board Member

In his current position Mr. Kalman Szalai is the Secretary of the Action and Protection Foundation, Budapest.

With a long career and expertise in managing and monitoring technology systems in the European electronics market, Mr. Szalai decided over the last few years  to dedicate his time to working with the Action and Protection Foundation.

The Foundation’s mission was the creation, protection and promotion of  a sovereign, independent Hungarian Jewish identity. Mission accomplished. The Foundation‘s board of trustees now includes significant people representing the length and breadth of Hungary’s Jewish organisations, underlining the foundation’s commitment and consensus decision making to achieving common goals.

As a part of his role Mr. Szalai is also producing Anti-Semitic hate crime and incident monthly reports in Budapest and is managing a project that seeks to help law enforcement organisations address and define hate crime.

Ellen van Praagh

Advisory Board Member

Mrs van Praagh is a long time member of the Jewish Community of Utrecht and is also the chair of the IPOR. 

Mrs Van Praagh is working closely with Chief Rabbi  Jacobs  to built and extend the community.

Ellen is  married to Gideon, a mother to two sons 2 and a happy grandmother to two 2 wonderful grandchildren.

She and her family run a family business in the heart of Utrecht for selling top of the line in the region of the well laid table. the business exists since 1926 as a family affair.

Mrs Van Praagh is an active in the organization as treasurer and chair and maintains contacts with the Trade unions.

Her goal in life is to keep Jewish life in Holland going and fight all wrongdoers. This to preserve Jewish Community for all the children and grandchildren in the Netherlands. 

Danilo Medic

Advisory Board Member

Mr. Danilo Medić, current President of the Jewish community of Belgrade, has two and a half decades of experience working in both private and public sectors of Serbia as well as Singapore.

From 1994 until 2006, he worked as the Representative for TOPCON Europe in South-east Europe, in parallel – from 1997 until 2003 – being a co-owner of IDEA (largest food wholesaler in Serbia). From 2000 until 2001, Mr. Medić acted as the Vice-President and Board Member of the National Theatre, from 2000 until 2002 – as the Chief Financial Officer at Parking Service Belgrade public utility company. During the same period, from 1996 until 2000, Mr. Medić had been a team member for elections control against then-President Slobodan Milošević.

During Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić’s tenure, Mr. Medić had been a member of his cabinet (2001-2002). From 2004 until 2012, he was a co-owner of Dahlia (Serbian cosmetics company) as well as the Managing Director for its Singapore division (Dahlia Investments Pte. Ltd.) from 2005 until 2012, simultaneously – from 2006 until 2007 – acting as the Director of the Youth Committee at the Rotary Club of Singapore. In turn, after return to Serbia, he was the President of the Rotary Club Belgrade International from 2012 until 2013. Presently, since 2013, Mr. Medić acts as a Consultant for Saint-Gobain Construction Products D.O.O. in Serbia.

Before becoming the President of Belgrade’s Jewish community in 2017, Mr. Medić had been its Board Member from 2016 until 2017. Mr. Medić also serves as the Board Member of the Water Polo Federation of Serbia (since 2018) and holds an MBA degree.

Pascal Markowicz

Advisory Board Member

Pascal Markowicz is an attorney at the Paris Bar association.

Coming from a background of Law studies (Faculty of Law Paris-Assas University), and practicing as Representative of the Paris Bar association at the Civilian & Criminal Electronic Proceedings Committee (French Ministry of Justice).

Mr. Markowicz has always been a significant contributor to the betterment and protection of Jewish communities in France.

Treasurer & Member of the Executive Board of the Association of French Jewish Lawyers. Former Executive Chairman of the French Committee of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists (IAJLJ). Member of the Board of Governors of the IAJLJ (world fédération).

Mr. Markowicz is also very much involved with Israel affairs

He also works closely with the Embassy of Israel (France), the Israeli Mission to the European Institutions in Brussels, Israeli MFA and Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry, about BDS and terrorism matters.

Vice-President of the International Relations Commission & Member of the Board of Directors (CRIF), he is also an Expert on delegitimization of Israel, anti-boycott and radical islamic terrorism litigations.

Our Team

Alex Benjamin

Director of Public Affairs

Alex Benjamin has been Director of Public Affairs for the EJA in Brussels since March 2015. With over 10 years experience of working in the European parliament as a political adviser and communications director, he knows the EU Institutions, its main players and how to get things done for Israel and for Judaism. His tasks involve directing campaigns, liaising directly with key EU figures and generating positive outcomes for the Association membership.

No stranger to challenging political environments, he also worked for the former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble following the signing of the Good Fridayagreement and during the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Tal Rabina

EJA Strategic Director & Head of the Israel Office

Tal is a seasoned Strategic, media and crisis management expert, working alongside EJA since its inception. For three decades, Tal has been serving as a strategic media consultant to leading corporations, organizations and high-level executives in the private and public sectors in Israel and abroad.

A former military correspondent for IDF radio and economic correspondent for Kol Israel – Israel’s national radio, Tal is widely regarded by key politicians, executives, journalists and opinion leaders as one of Israel’s most reliable media professional.

Nir Natan

EJA International Media consultant and spokesman

Nir is one seriously focused media consultant whose experience in international media relations means that he gets the different media cultures and how non-Israeli journalists think and operate. This is a vital component of our work.

With a Degree in Political Science from Bar Ilan University, Nir also walks the tightrope of the differing political cultures in Europe and Israel with ease, linking and tailoring politicians with counterparts that can challenge, prompt political debate but who won’t rub each other up the wrong way.

Yossi Beinhaker

Director of Communities and Organizations Division

Coming from a background of studies in Industrial engineering and management in Jerusalem, Yossi had became The Director of Communities and Organizations Division of European Jewish Association since 2009.

Yossi was raised on the principles of faith and Jewish Values and as such is finding great pleasure managing and organizing EJA international’s projects which ams for ‘keruv levavot’ and straightening the ties between Jewish organizations and Jewish individuals around the world.

Dafna Friedman

Communications and Campaigns officer

Coming from a background of Middle East studies in The University of Tel-Aviv, Dafna has started her way in communications when she first move to Brussels in 2013.

Her experience in Brussels has mainly focused on Communications and Campaigns consulting for a few pro- Israel organizations whose main mission is to build a strong core support for Israel within the EU institutions and among the Jewish communities in Europe.

Dafna is working with EJA since 2017. She sees her position as a mission to bring positive and accurate information to many followers and readers and to bring a sense of Jewish European Unity throughout them.