An EJC delegation headed by its President, Moshe Kantor, including Executive members from across Europe and Presidents of Jewish communities from Scandinavian and Baltic countries joined in the celebration of the 110th anniversary of the Helsinki synagogue that took place on 11th of September 2016.
Moshe Kantor addressed the ceremony alongside the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Maria Lohela, the President of the Central Council of Jewish Communities in Finland, Yaron Nadbornik and the Chief Rabbi of Finland, Simon Livson. Distinguished members of the Jewish community of Helsinki and representatives of different faith were as well among those present.
This ceremony carried a special meaning as the Helsinki synagogue is the only one in Europe that remained functional throughout its 110 years of existence and despite the Shoah.
There are around 1500 Jews in Finland, of which more than two third live in Helsinki. The Jewish Community of Helsinki boasts of its young leadership. At 36 years old, Yaron Nadbornik was elected as President and strives, with the help of his twin brother Ariel, to have a flourishing and dynamic community, carrying on his shoulders a beautiful Jewish school, a community centre and many educative and cultural projects. The Nadbornik brothers represent the 5th generation of a Finnish Jewish family and are today a synonym of Young European Jewish leadership.
On this important occasion, Moshe Kantor expressed his joy in being present at the ceremony in the synagogue, which he said stands as “a testimony to the confidence and strength of a remarkable Jewish community and as a symbol of Finland’s commitment to the Jews.” The construction of the synagogue coincided with a period when “they were able to be proud and confident as Jews, but also proud and confident as equal citizens of their countries”, said Kantor., This fact should become once again a reality in Europe where Jews unfortunately have to devote more and more of their communal resources to security. Kantor stressed that “protecting citizens is the duty of the state; it should not be the responsibility of individual communities.”
Finnish Speaker Lohela reassured those present of the government’s commitment to protect and safeguard the Jewish community and to allow it to continue to grow and flourish. She praised the community for the beautiful synagogue and for the symbol of peace it has represented for the Jewish community in Helsinki for the past 110 years.Tuesday, September 13, 2016