European Jewish Leaders to Hold Emergency Summit in Brussels Following Polish Vote On Shechita


shechitaThe 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)


  1. The obvious response would be a boycott of the EU, and to make clear that we will regard anyone not joining the boycott as thereby making an endoresement of anti-semitism.

  2. In the past years, there has been broadening understanding that Tisha B’av as explained by Rashi in Divre Hayomim, is the catch all date for all tragedies, and Yom Hashoa is an error, as Tisha B’av is the time for recognition and mourning of the Shoah as well. Recently, kinos publications have included modern kinos by the Bobover Rov, Rav Wosner, Rav Wolbe, and others. There is a difference however, in the classical kinos, and in the modern ones. The old kinos almost always contain an explicit or hidden tzidduk hadin. (the kinnah for Speyer, Mayence, and Worms does not) . This concept is absent in the newer kinos, and I humbly submit a reason. We have not yet fully come to terms with the Shoah, and while there have been obscure attempts as at a tzidduk hadin, it has not been broached in most circles, and not accepted either in the Torah world or by Jews in general. One can postulate that one lesson is that God does not want the Jews to continue the European exile, and that Jabotinsky was the prophet of the generation. In that sense, the vast investments in regenerating the communities of Eastern Europe, Chabad, the CER, the chief Rabbis, this all ignores the vast and long shadow the Shoah casts on that blood soaked continent. This is not the first time shecitah has been threatened. Just maybe this latest installment is a message not to fight, but to leave.

  3. akeperma: Certain elements within the Jewish community tried your approach already when they boycotted German products in response to Hitler’s early provocations.

    We all know where that unfortunately led to.

  4. #3- Actually there was widespread participation in anti-Nazi boycotts in the US, and that was a major factor in building up public opinion to allow the US to oppose Germany. The real issue is that many (if not most) American Jews do not keep kosher and probably would support a law to ban kosher slaughter – so making it clear we consider opposition to matters such as kashruth (and bris milah, and Shabbos) to be matters of anti-semitism would be important. It would also attract support for many people annoyed by European secularism (and note that unlike in the past, the opposition to schichta is from secularists, not religious conservatives).