Vast Majority of Europe’s Jews to Stay Home on High Holy Days Despite Security

Vast Majority of Europe’s Jews to Stay Home on High Holy Days Despite Security

EUROPE 01:00 21.09.2016(updated 01:02 21.09.2016) Get short URL 113101

A recent survey among representatives of European Jewish communities indicates that synagogue attendance is decreasing.

Last week the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) conducted an online poll to determine if Jewish community members see an increase in anti-Semitism. Respondents included rabbis, and religious and secular leaders of Jewish communities in European capital cities and suburbs.

The results of the survey, released Tuesday, show that 70% of poll participants said that they would not attend a synagogue on a major religious holiday, fearing terrorist actions or other forms of violence.

Pollsters saw that about half of Jewish communities in the region have experienced a significant decline in registered members since last year, while 11% saw an increase.

Those numbers coincide with intensified security at about 75% of Jewish institutions and synagogues, following a series of terror attacks in Europe.

Last year’s results of the annual poll were more evenly balanced. EJA and RCE officials suggest that the increase is partly due to the flow of refugees into Europe and to the spread of the far-right movement in several European countries.

“Currently the focus of the extreme right and their activity is focused on Islamophobia, but testimonies of rabbis and community leaders show a great deal of concern about growing nationalism and xenophobia, also against the Jews of Europe,” EJA and RCE General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin told Jerusalem Post.

Margolin called for the EU and regional governments to boost educational efforts in teaching religious and cultural equality.