Shabbat Shekalim / Pesach Appeal
Jews in Europe have a tortured history, and Progressive Judaism offers a positive egalitarian opportunity to post-war Jews who have survived the twin attacks of Fascism and Communism. To date the European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) has primarily focussed on Central and Eastern Europe. A new opportunity now presents itself – in Spain. Friends of Progressive Judaism (FPJ) have supported the successful creation of new communities in many countries and will now do so in Spain under the leadership of EUPJ.
The Jews were expelled from Spain over 500 years ago. Until 30 or so years ago when the Fascist dictatorship of General Franco ended, there were no “official” Jews or Jewish communities in Spain – in fact it was illegal to practice Judaism. There were of course descendants of anusim, Jews forced to convert to Catholicism, who secretly practiced some form of Judaism.
Now in modern democratic Spain, Judaism is once more legal, and there is a rebirth of Jewish life which has become pronounced in the past few years. As the last frontier in Europe for the re-establishing of Judaism, the EUPJ has decided to make Spain a priority for the next few years and to offer exactly what they have created in Central and Eastern Europe. There are two flourishing communities in Barcelona, Bet Shalom and Communitat Jueva Atid de Catalunya. Both have limited resources and neither has a full time Rabbi. In Asturias, La Coruna and other Spanish cities there are large enough groups of interested Jews to form viable congregations. EUPJ have appointed two native Spanish speakers to part time positions in the Barcelona synagogues to assist in the establishment of other communities: Rabbi Hillel Athias-Robles, currently serving with London’s Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, and Student Rabbi Tamara Schagas from HUC-JIR in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Hillel Athias-Robles
Student Rabbi Tamara Schagas
Yom Kippur at Bet Shalom, Barcelona
The EUPJ is once again helping to kindle a Progressive Jewish flame in a country where Jewish life was all but extinct. This mission will need £30,000 annually for the next few years and EUPJ are seeking funds from various sources. As both an opportunity and an obligation, EUPJ are committed to this work - a true mitzvah. FPJ wholeheartedly supports this endeavour and appeals to you to donate generously to this eminently worthwhile cause.
Carol RobertsChairman FPJ
Andrew GoldsteinChairman EUPJ
Leslie BergmanPresident EUPJ
To donate online please click here or send a cheque/voucher made out to FPJ to The Administrator FPJ, PO Box 3998, Gerrards Cross SL9 1AS. Please increase the value of your gift by completing the Gift Aid Declaration obtainable by downloading from the donation page or click here to download and print a form