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MAHAR 2019

The “Mahar 2019” Conference, October 31st to November 4th, 2019

    The Jewish Community of Montenegro, one of the youngest and smallest communities in the world, managed to organize meaningful and very impressive Jewish gathering, providing kosher food to about 500 participants at the “Mahar” conference.

The seventh “Mahar” conference took place in Budva from October 31st through November 4th under the topic “Challenges and opportunities Jews facing today. Organized by the Jewish Community of Montenegro under the patronage of KKL-JNF, EAJC, EJA, Israeli Embassy in Belgrade, JDC, World Jewish Congress and Government of Montenegro, the “Mahar” conference was a central point for Jewish Communities of Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Estonia, Belgium, Albania …

For the first time, an Israeli Minister of Religious Services of Israel, Yitzhak Vaknin, attended the annual Mahar conference on October 31st that was officially opened in the Crystal Hall of Avala hotel in Budva by Mr. Milo Đukanović, President of Montenegro, who thanked for the honor to host the most important gathering of Jewish communities in Southeast Europe. Mr. Đukanović expressed concern about the spread of Antisemitism on social networks and said: “We must use modern technology to combat hatred, to achieve mutual understanding and tolerance in society.”

A welcome opening remarks was delivered by Mr. Djordje Raicevic, the President of the Jewish community of Montenegro. On behalf of EAJC Mr. Chaim Blechmen, EAJC Head of the Legal Department addressed the attendees as well as Mrs. Ingrid Balelti, KKL-JNF Manager East Asia Department Euro Asia Region.

Rabbi Menahem Margolin, General Director of European Rabbinical Centre and EJA and Rabbi Simha Weiss was the key note speakers at the inaugural ceremony of Chief Rabbi of Montenegro Ari Edelkop.

The first day conference saw lectures “Do not fear Mahar: How to meet Challenges Facing World Jewry” by Mrs. Shulamith Bahat, CEO Beit Hatfutsot of America and a talk titled “KKL-JNF Houses for Excellence, empowering the periphery” by Mr. Avi Moussan, Head of KKL-JNF Houses for Excellence. The involvement of KKL-JNF showed an important contribution of excellence to the traditional posture of Israel.

A lecture “The Challenges of Jews in Israel today in the fields of Education and Agriculture from the Cockpit” run by Brigadier General Ram Shmueli.

The Conference consisted as well as of the following lectures:

  • ”The State of Israel 2019, from Iran and the middle East to economic and scientific achievements, demography and Aliyah” by Brigadier General (Res.) Dr Ephraim Lapid,
  • “Israel Jewish and Democratic State and its impact on Diaspora” by Ph.D. Gadi Taub, historian, author, screenwriter and journalist,
  • “Tourism in the footsteps of Jewish sights and culture in Central-Eastern Europe” by Mr. Ivan Rona,
  • ”Unbelievable increase in both the frequency and violence of anti-Semitic attacks; the reasons for this recent resurgence, and what the range of response looks like in Europe, in North Africa, and in America”,
  • “ŽeniLebl” by Mrs. Ana Lebl,

And two exhibitions as well:

  • „Start Up People” by Beit Hatfutsot Museum,
  • „Shoah, How was it humanly possible?” from the Jewish community of Novi Sad.

This year for the first time ever the organizer have managed to provide kosher food to about 500 participants over the Conference, so everything was in course of tradition.

Also we presented our guests with the Concert of anti-fascist songs of Montenegrin choir which symbolize the spirit of Montenegro in terms of democracy, liberalism and freedom.