8 Sivan 5778 , 22/05/2018

Young Rabbis’ Forum in Amsterdam

18/06/2014 20 Sivan 5774
Young Rabbis’ Forum in Amsterdam For the third year, a conference was held in which dozens of young rabbis from all over Europe participated. The European Young Rabbis’ Forum was initiated and is sponsored by the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. The three-day conference, beginning on June 16 (18 Sivan) and held in Amsterdam, was graced by highly professional leading lecturers, speaking on topics related to Jewish education, marriage, counseling and fund-raising.
If anyone doubted the importance of this conference, his doubts disappeared the moment he entered the conference hall and saw the dozens of Rabbanim who had come from every corner of Europe – from Ukraine and Russia, from Cyprus and Italy, from France and Kyrgyzstan, from Poland and Hungary, from Belgium and the Netherlands, from Germany and England – and from other countries as well.
Only once they were assembled in the convention hall in Amsterdam did it become known that some of the young Rabbanim in attendance had driven for almost six hours just to get to an airport where they could board a flight to come to participate in this unique, fascinating experience of the RCE’s European Young Rabbis’ Forum.
During the three days that the Rabbanim spent together, they discussed issues they were currently encountering in dealing with their respective communities; how to balance their family responsibilities with their rabbinic activities; how they could fulfill their personal visions in leading their communities; interpersonal communication; how to deal with tension and burnout; how to raise financial support for their many activities, and much more.
The highly respected lecturers – Harav Chaim Shlomo Diskin, Rav of Kiryat Ata; psychologist Rabbi Dr. Eyal Unger; and Harav Natan Rosen, senior lecturer in academia – enthralled the participants for many hours as they explained how to deal with various issues, and the Rabbanim returned to their homes and communities armed with a “chest” full of helpful new tools and methodologies. Harav Haim Hillel Azimov, Rav of the Jewish community of northern Cyprus, gave an enlightening lecture, including a slide presentation, showing how to persuade donors to contribute to community activities, sharing with the Rabbanim his rich experience.
Between the lectures and workshops, in the hallways and during the meals, the Rabbanim conversed, sharing their knowledge and experiences involving self-sacrifice in their everyday struggles, in their solitude, in the difficulties they encounter in providing a Torah education for their children, and in obtaining kosher food.
Although the lecturers had spoken at other, similar conferences, they were greatly impressed by the mutual respect the Rabbanim had for one another, by the young rabbis’ own fascinating stories, and by their strength of spirit.
Harav Binyamin Jacobs, chairman of Holland’s Vaad Harabbanim and member of the Council of European Rabbis, invited the Rabbanim to visit the place where many of Holland’s Jews were rounded up, transported and murdered during the Holocaust. Harav Levi Stiefel of Lipetsk, Russia, recited the Keil Malei Rachamim prayer, and Harav Meyerson, head of the kashrus division of Holland’s Chief Rabbinate, recited Kaddish. From there the Rabbanim went on to tour Amsterdam’s ancient Portuguese shul, where they davened Minchah with the local Jews.
Following Minchah, the Rabbanim went to the city’s center, where they held the march that so impressed and amazed the local residents. The Rabbanim carried a sign in English and Dutch and called upon other religious leaders to join in the call to bring the kidnapped boys home safely.
That night a chanukas habayis was held in the center of town, inaugurating the new Chabad house for Israelis, run by Rabbi Akiva Camissar and his wife. This Chabad house is available to every Jew. The Rabbanim stayed through the night, sharing interesting experiences based on their many activities.
At the end of the seminar the Rabbanim all thanked the RCE’s administration, and especially its director, Harav Menachem Margolin, who had worked tirelessly, day and night, to make the Young Rabbis’ Forum all that it was. They also expressed their admiration and their thanks to the staff of the RCE, headed by deputy director Harav Aryeh Goldberg and assisted by Harav Mordechai Biton, Harav Avraham Abba Turetsky and Harav Yossi Beinhaker, who are involved in the activities of the Rabbanim throughout the year and who are always available to assist them with anything they need.

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