Romano Prodi’s Acceptance of Human Rights Award

And Participation in Inauguration of the New Jewish Religious Academy in Vienna
Austrian Press Agency (APA) (01/28/04)

Vienna - The President of the European Commission (EC), Romano Prodi, was presented with a human rights award in Vienna on February 2, 2004 by the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) for his ongoing efforts to promote cultural dialogue and to protect the rights of minorities in Europe. Moreover, President Prodi will also participate in the inauguration of the new Jewish Academy of Religious Education. It is the first establishment of its kind to open its doors in Vienna since 1945. Its predecessor was demolished in 1939 by the NS.

President Prodi is receiving the award for his extraordinary dedication to the diversity of cultures in Europe and to the Jewish community, said Rabbi Moshe Garelik, Director of the RCE and organizer of the conference in Vienna. Rabbi Garelik also emphasized that Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger, will be present at the meeting and stand together with Prodi in order to demonstrate support of the European Jews during times of recent growth of anti-Semitism.

Chabad Rabbi, Jacob Biderman, of Vienna said that it is very encouraging to know that the EC President is coming to Vienna to inaugurate the Academy and to accept the award. This is "an important message" to the effect that it reveals which direction Europe will take in the future regarding Austria’s Jewish community.