A Jewish lobby group from Brussels has called on Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael
Schudrich, to resign following the defeat of a Polish bill to legalize ritual
“I harshly condemn Rabbi Schudrich’s conduct and call on him
to resign,” said Menachem Margolin, a rabbi belonging to the Chabad movement and
director of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association.
JTA on Tuesday that Schudrich “blocked efforts by Jewish groups out of ego
considerations, to be the only one dealing with the subject.”
told JTA that Margolin’s words constituted “unwarranted hate.” The chief rabbi
said he was “in contact” with the European Jewish Congress and the Conference of
European Rabbis about the issue.
But representatives from two other
European Jewish organizations who spoke to JTA on condition of anonymity also
criticized Schudrich’s performance in connection with the July 12 defeat in
Polish parliament of a bill meant to reverse January’s ban on ritual
The ban was imposed following a court ruling against ritual
slaughter on a petition filed by animal welfare activists.
Schudrich told us everything was under control until it wasn’t and it was too
late to do anything,” one source said.
On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister
Donald Tusk said he had no plans to reintroduce legislation to lift the ban on
ritual slaughter in Poland, which once was a major exporter of halal and kosher
But an official from a third organization said “it’s wrong to
attribute this setback to Schudrich. He had a strategy which failed due to
internal political issues.”
The source noted that bill was defeated 222
to 178. “The gap shows this is a major issue out of Schudrich’s control,” the
Margolin also said that in March, Schudrich caused the
cancellation of a meeting that members of Margolin’s organization had scheduled
with the Polish president.
Schudrich, who has said he would resign in
protest unless the ban is reversed, on Tuesday declined to elaborate about the
But, he said, “Today, on Tisha b’Av, we remember the
destruction of the Temple because of the sin of unwarranted hatred, Sin’at
Khinam. It is painful to see we’ve learned nothing in 2,000 years.”