World Jewish News
The Acropolis in Athens, Greece, where a group of 600 young Jews will spend Just One Shabbat with the European Center for Jewish Students in partnership with the European Jewish Union.
European student organization announces partnership with EJU to strenghten Jewish life in Europe
03.11.2011, International Organizations
The European Center for Jewish Students (ECJS), Europe’s largest Jewish student organization serving thousands of young adults from 26 countries, and the European Jewish Union (EJU) have forged a strategic partnership to actively strengthen Jewish life in Europe through emphasis on education, social programs and cultural activities.
"This partnership unites ECJS’ large following of students and young professionals from around Europe and its event-planning expertise together with EJU’s unparalleled educational, social and cultural programming for a greater impact on the next generation of Jewish activists," ECJS said in a press release.
The EJU is an organization dedicated to promote Jewish life in Europe.
In the framework of the new partnership, a group of 600 young Jews from all over the world will spend Just One Shabbat, an annual event, in Athens, Greece,
The event will take place from December 30th 2011- January 2nd 2012, days after the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukah, which commemorates the ancient story of the small band of Maccabees defeating the mighty Greeks.
Judah the Maccabee led a revolt against the Greek Emperor, Antiochus, to recapture the Jewish Temple. Victorious, the Jewish people arrived at the Temple only to find it had been desecrated by the Greeks.
The Jews, desperate to restore some holiness amidst all the chaos, yearned to light the Menorah, but found only enough pure olive oil to last one day. A miracle occurred and the oil burned for eight days until a fresh supply of ritually pure olive oil could be prepared.
"Choosing the location for this year’s New Year’s event was quite easy," says Zevi Ives, ECJS Executive Director.
"What better way to end the holiday of Hanukah then by spending Shabbat in what once was the bastion of ancient Greek culture? The Greeks tried to abolish Judaism from its very core, but 2,000 years later we live on and their ancient culture lies in historic ruins. It clearly sends the ECJS message of Jewish pride, identity and continuity to our participants."
Unlike the ancient Greek empire, during the Holocaust many Greek citizens risked and lost their lives while opposing Nazi efforts to exterminate their fellow Jewish citizens.
In 1944, the Greek government was the first to return Jewish properties that had been confiscated by the Nazis.
A year ago, Benjamin Netanyahu was the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Greece which has become a prominent ally of Israel in the Mediterranean basin.
Participants at the Just One Shabbat will stay in a five-star hotel in the heart of Athens where they will have the opportunity to discover the ancient city as well as its modern and trendy hot spots.
Based in Brussels, ECJS works to bring Jewish students and young professionals, aged 18 to 35, together in order to preserve and unify the Jewish European society.
The organization holds five main events a year all over Europe as well as arranging services and meals for Shabbatot and holidays, annual trips to Israel…..
"I came to an ECJS event by myself without any friends. In Europe, it is especially difficult to make contact with someone you don’t know but not at ECJS events. This is like one of the most amazing things you can experience," says Arie Weissmann from London.
For more information about Just One Shabbat, visit www.newyear.ecjs.org or call at +32 22803765.