The European Jewish Congress (EJC), the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) and senior representatives of the Polish Jewish community will hold an emergency meeting today in Brussels. The discussions centred around how to respond to the failure of the Polish Government to push through legislation which would have protected the rights of faith communities to carry out religious slaughter.
Piotr Kadlčik, President of the Polish Jewish community flew into Brussels to meet with the EJC and CER. Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich participated in the meeting via video link.
“The issue of shechitah is now at the forefront of our responsibilities as representatives of European Jewish communities,” Serge Cwajgenbaum, EJC Secretary General, said. “We will galvanize and utilize all legal means to fight this ban in Poland because the future of shechitah in Europe will have an immediate and direct bearing on the future of a thriving and unmolested Jewish community in Europe and by extension a tolerant and broad-minded Europe.”
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the CER, commented, “I was deeply disappointed during the course of the debate in the Sejm, as religious slaughter was portrayed as contrary to Polish culture. This line of argument constitutes a complete disregard for Polish history, and the proud contribution of Polish Jews to the country during 800 years of living side-by-side. We have arrived, due to the outcome of the vote, at a position which is simply untenable for the Jewish community in Poland and we must now act quickly to rectify this.”
“Attacks on this basic right to religious expression are an issue not only for Polish Jews but for all Europe’s Jewish and minority religious communities,” Piotr Kadlčik said. “Our Jewish way of life as full citizens of a democratic Europe of which Poland is part of dependent on the principal government and pan-European organisations defending fundamental rights as enshrined in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.”
Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich of Poland asses, “Since 1989, the new democratic Poland has been an example to all of minority and religious rights. We have already begun together with Polish government officials to find a wise and legal solution to ensure that shechita remains legal in Poland. I am very hopeful that in the near future such a solution will be implemented.”
At the emergency summit a number of options were discussed, including political and legal responses. It was unanimously agreed that every legal option would be explored in order to challenge the ban on Shechita in Poland.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)