The Annual General Assembly of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress took place online on Wednesday, November 30th. The Assembly was attended by EAJC President Dr. Michael Mirilashvili, EAJC Board Chairman Aaron G. Frenkel, EAJC First Vice-Presidents Emmanuel Grinshpun and Boris Lozhkin, EAJC Vice-Presidents Mark Shabad, David Yakobashvili, Moshe Shvets, EAJC Director General Dr. Haim Ben Yakov, as well as leaders of Jewish communities and organizations-members of the Congress.
The reports on the activities of the Congress in 2021-22 were presented during the Assembly. The new members and the new composition of the Board were also approved. The newly elected EAJC Vice President Matvey Hutman was officially confirmed in his office. Hutman, businessman and public figure, served as EAJC treasurer from 2015-2018. Following the outbreak of war on the territory of Ukraine, he launched a charitable initiative in Austria aimed at helping refugees with housing, initial counseling, medicine and food supplies. This year, Hutman also funded a summer vacation for Ukrainian children affected by the hostilities.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of the EAJC, a special video was presented with a unique photo chronicle of the post-Soviet delegation to the World Jewish Congress in 1992.
Community leaders thanked the EAJC leadership for their well-coordinated work, support, and maximum effort in difficult times.
EAJC President Michael Mirilashvili welcomed participants of the Assembly, noting that the current difficult times have brought the Jewish community in the Euro-Asian region together “more than ever.”
“The terrible war has already brought much suffering to people and Jewish communities,” said M. Mirilashvili. – It is a serious test for all of us. It should spur us to even greater unity and mutual care. We should be concerned not only for our own lives, but also for the lives of friends, neighbors and Jews throughout the entire region. In such a difficult time, it is extremely important to care about our neighbors and try to help and support everyone we can. We need to work more together, cooperate and collaborate to save as many lives as possible. It’s time to show what we are capable of, to prove that our unity can benefit not only our people, but the entire world.”
EAJC Board Chairman Aaron G. Frenkel in a special address to the Assembly emphasized the important role of the Congress in global Jewish life. “For 30 years, the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress has become an integral part of the Jewish world. Jewish communities in 23 countries, leaders of Jewish organizations and many more people who care about Jewish life in the region – this is the Congress. This is extremely hard but very valuable work. Especially in our days, when the world is not at peace and not stable, as it was before. Today, the EAJC works with many leading organizations in the Jewish world, with whom many projects have been implemented in partnership. Coordination and unity are key to the success of our people,” he said.
First Vice President of the EAJC, Boris Lozhkin, explained the crisis situation in which the Jewish community of Ukraine finds itself against the backdrop of ongoing hostilities in the country. “I really hope for the support of the Ukrainian community, Ukrainian Jews – both those who left and those who stayed. I hope that we will prepare joint projects with the EAJC, first of all for the communities in the cities that have suffered the most. Especially this winter and the beginning of spring, which will be extremely difficult for those who are in Ukraine,” he summed up.
Lozhkin also emphasized the importance of continuing joint scientific projects, such as the Center for the Study of the History of Ukrainian Jewry at Tel Aviv University.
EAJC First Vice President Emmanuel Grinshpun thanked the EAJC leadership for its assistance in evacuating 20 thousand Jewish refugees from Ukraine to Eastern European countries, saying, “The Moldovan Jewish community is also going through difficult times at the moment. In Chisinau and in Moldova in general, there are constant power outages. The Moldovan Jewish community has taken in tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from Ukraine. A large number of Ukrainian Jews have settled in Moldova, and we continue to support them.”
EAJC Director General Chaim Ben Yaakov announced a large-scale EAJC conference on The Jerusalem Post platform. The online forum will take place on Tuesday, December 6, and will bring together leading Israeli politicians, lawyers, officials and public figures on one platform. The theme of the conference will be the Jewish community of the Euro-Asian region.
“Of course, we would like to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Congress under more joyous circumstances, but this year raises difficult questions and requires us to take a serious, strategic approach. That is why we have organized a conference together with the Jerusalem Post on the situation in our region. We have invited Israeli politicians and leaders of the Jewish world to reflect on the future of Jewish life in post-Soviet countries,” said the EAJC Director General.