2012 Winner

Former Polish European Parliament President, Jerzy Buzek

Former Polish European Parliament President Prof. Jerzy Buzek was awarded the first “Lord Jakobovits Prize of European Jewry” by the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), during a ceremony held at Brussels’s great synagogue.

“He has been a friend of Jewish communities for years, as a Polish Prime Minister and European Parliament’s president he has been constantly building bridges of understanding, decisively fought against anti-Semitism and acted for commemorating victims of Shoah” - said Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the President of the CER, justifying the award for Jerzy Buzek.

At the Great Synagogue of Europe in Brussels, European Jews gathered for a prize award and remembrance of Toulouse victims on March 27, 2012. The ceremony at the Brussels synagogue, which was consecrated by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as The Great Synagogue of Europe in 2008, included a special prayer for the victims of the Toulouse shootings. During the ceremony, children from local Jewish schools read out a psalm in memory of the Toulouse victims. To emphasise the message of education for tolerance and mutual respect, classes from the European School in Brussels also were present.

CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said, “This public affirmation of our continued commitment to the values of tolerance and democracy which form the basis of the European Union needs to be reasserted particularly at this time when we are mourning the passing of our children as the result of a hate crime on the European continent,” Goldschmidt added. “Coming just one week before Pesach, the ultimate Jewish festival of liberation and freedom, when we transfer the message to our children of the continued victory of the forces of light over those of darkness, it is particularly poignant that we gather here to reassert our commitment to those values.”

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) awarded the first “Prix du Judaism European – Prix Lord Jakobovits” to the former prime minister of Poland and former president of the European Parliament, Prof. Jerzy Buzek MEP, for his efforts in support of Polish and European Jewry. The award ceremony was addressed by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz MEP. A number of European and Belgian political leaders, diplomats, as well as chief rabbis and other representatives of European Jewish communities were present, including the chief rabbi of Toulouse, Avraham Weill.