Click on the links below to download the CER Newsletter from that month:
London – Nikola Sarkozy
The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) has awarded the first Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The award honours his years of service, first as Interior Minister and then as President of France, protecting the French Jewish communities. The award was presented during a dinner held in a Central London hotel on the evening of 10 January 2016.
President Sarkozy has been an outspoken supporter of the Jewish community over many years, which he reiterated during a public discussion with journalist Tim Marshall during the Prize Presentation Ceremony. President Sarkozy said, “We do not want French Jews to leave France because they are afraid. We want them to be comfortable to wear a kippah. We must stand up to protect our Jewish communities. It is impossible not to. We did not fight the Nazis to force the Jews to run to Israel 70 years later.”
Rome – Prof. Andrea Riccardi
The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) last night awarded one of its highest awards to Italian professor, politician and activist Andrea Riccardi at a ceremony held in Rome, Italy. The Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize honours his outstanding example of civic involvement for a tolerant Europe and unceasing solidarity with the Jewish community.
For many years, Professor Riccardi has been a pioneer in strengthening interfaith relations and dialogue between the Catholic and Jewish communities of Europe through his work as the founder of the Sant’Egidio community – a lay Catholic association founded in 1968, following the second Vatican Council.
Since its inception, the Sant’Egidio community has become active in more than 70 countries around the world and currently numbers some 50,000 members. It is committed to friendship, respect and collaboration amongst people of different religions and cultures. In Rome and many other European cities, the community works with Jewish groups in hosting annual commemorations of and memorials for the victims of the Holocaust.
Brussels – Ruta Vanagaite
At the ceremony in the Great Synagogue of Europe, in Brussels, the second Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize was awarded to Lithuanian novelist Mrs. Ruta Vanagaite, whose novels have challenged her nation’s understanding of its treatment of Jews during the war.
Ruta Vanagaite is the best-selling author of Mūsiškiai (“Our People; Journey with an Enemy”), coauthored with world-famous Israeli Nazi-hunter and Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The book deals with the role of Lithuanians in the Holocaust crimes. At 19,000 copies sold, it became a runaway bestseller and has deeply affected public discourse on the Holocaust in Lithuania, inspiring a search for truth on this subject among many young Lithuanians.