Dear members of AEJM!

These are very difficult times, for mankind, for culture, and for all Jewish museums, worldwide. All of us are worried about our own health, the health of our families, of our loved ones, of our staffs and our visitors. I can only wish that all members of our extended community are safe and in good health.

In this newsletter we inform you, among other things, about the effect of the crisis on our programming. So far, our yearly conference is scheduled to take place in Moscow from 22-24 November. If not confident, we are certainly hopeful that this important event can take place and we look forward to working together with our Russian friends and colleagues.

It is very rewarding to see how creatively and successfully most of our member organizations have accepted the facts of the corona pandemic and have embraced the opportunities to extend their online offer and to reach out to their core audience as well as to new audiences. Many of these initiatives are posted on the website and social media channels of Jewish Heritage Europe (https://jewish-heritage-europe.eu/news/). We encourage all of you wholeheartedly to inform them of all your digital content, in order for it to reach as large an audience as possible.

But on a more pessimistic note: it cannot be denied that many of our member organizations, especially those in Italy and Spain, the smaller museums and heritage sites, those in politically unstable or unsafe countries, and those without any source of public funding, will be affected enormously by the corona crisis. As a professional network organization we have been discussing this situation with a number of our main supporters already, who are very curious to learn how the developments affect your organization, immediately, in the next few months of this pandemic, and afterward. If the problems are as paramount as we fear, we will approach our funders and see if there is anything that can be done for member organizations in need. I urgently invite the leadership of our member organizations to write either to me directly at emile.schrijver@jck.nl or to AEJM at nikki.boot@aejm.org and to let us know how the crisis affects your organization and its future. We will then collect the information and see if we can start a discussion on behalf of all of us.

This newsletter marks a vital change of staff for our Association. Eva Koppen, who has served us for many years, has decided to step down as our managing director. We feel indebted to Eva for the tremendous amount of work she has done for AEJM. She was instrumental in making AEJM the professional organization that it is today. She was the driving force behind our development, added many new programs to our offer and extended the network considerably. She will be dearly missed but we wish her all the best in her professional career!

We are very happy to announce that we have been able to secure the services of Nikki Boot, whom most of you will remember from our yearly conference in Budapest in 2018. Based in Amsterdam, she will be the project manager and main administrative contact of our members and peers. As of now the board of AEJM will be more involved in the planning of the content of the activities. We are confident that by hiring Nikki Boot, we will be able to continue our work on the level that our members may expect from us.

I have to repeat it; these are very difficult times. Nevertheless, on behalf of the board and staff of AEJM I would like to wish all of you a wonderful, blessed albeit less communal Seder and Chag Sameach! And more than anything else, we wish you the wisdom not only to know the difference between that night and all other nights, but also between what you have to do, what you want to do and what you are no longer allowed to do. Zay gesund!