The daughter of a Charedi rabbi from Antwerp was among eight recipients of a special distinction for excellence from one of Belgium’s largest colleges.
Rezi Friedman, who graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in child psychology, received the Karel de Grote University College’s annual Grote Award on Saturday night, the Het Laatste Nieuws daily reported.
Although she grew up in one of the world’s most insular Charedi communities, Rezi Friedman said at the award ceremony: “My Jewish faith was never an obstacle. I never had to go against my religion.”
Karel de Grote University College has 12,000 students and is made up of more than a dozen smaller colleges.
Rezi Friedman is the daughter of Moshe Aryeh Friedman, a 45-year-old Brooklyn native. He has been excommunicated in Vienna and later in Antwerp for his anti-Israel views and legal fights against representatives of Belgian Jewry. “I am of course very proud of my daughter,” he told JTA.
Moshe Friedman was criticized by many in the Jewish community in 2006 for his participation in a Holocaust revisionist conference in Tehran, the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust. At the time, Friedman argued that number of Jews murdered during the Holocaust had been greatly exaggerated, and was likely one million, rather than the six million generally accepted by mainstream historians.
In 2013, he enrolled his two boys in a Charedi all-girls school to challenge gender segregation at such institutions that are recognized by the Belgian authorities.
“Even some of my enemies told me that my daughter’s bringing an honor to the community with this award, it offsets the anger from these fights,” he said.