At the first pan-European Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) conference, which opened in England, Jewish leaders from around the world reacted to a report released earlier this week by the Community Security Trust showing anti-Semitic hate crime is at a record high in the UK.
"We’re all aware of the record number of anti-Semitic attacks that have been reported across the UK," said Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chairman Matthew Bronfman. "What are we doing about it?
"We’re gathering here, just outside of London – the UK’s largest Jewish community and place with the highest incidence of anti-Semitic hate crimes – to show the world who we are and why we’re important. Studying and learning and expressing our Judaism is how we fight this."
"There is less anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan or Kazakhstan than there is in Europe right now,” said Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein. "What did the Jews do wrong? It’s not what we did wrong; it’s what we did right.
"We are a strong and unified people – both in Europe and around the world – and the unity of the Jewish people will cause this resurgence of anti-Semitism to melt away."
Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler said, "There is more anti-Semitism in London than in any other European city. It’s shameful. We’re here in the UK to show that we are ready to fight back. Unlike on the eve of WWII, we will not be silent."
UJA-Federation of New York’s Women and Limmud FSU Co-founder Sandra Cahn said, "This weekend is an important opportunity for all the representatives from the 20 countries that will be gathered together at Limmud FSU to come together in solidarity.
"Many of them feel very disconnected from their local communities, and in the shadow of the anti-semitic attacks they experience now in Europe, this event creates a strong union and an extremely important force."
Limmud FSU Europe's conference marks 100 years after the UK declared its support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Israel. Attending the conference were Jewish leaders from around the globe and over 650 Russian-speaking Jews from over 20 European countries.
This is also the first time the Limmud FSU is not geared toward Russian-speaking Jews of a specific city or country. More than 250,000 Russian-speaking Jews currently reside in Europe, making it one of the world’s largest Russian-speaking Jewish communities.