Chief Rabbi of Israel, UOJ, RCA stand behind Chabad Rabbi in Krakow

Chabad Rabbi Eliezer Gurary was forced out of the Krakow Izaak Synagogue in a public scene that shocked the Jewish world.

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July 9, 2019 16:30
2 minute read.
Chief Rabbi of Israel, UOJ, RCA stand behind Chabad Rabbi in Krakow

Jewish people unable to enter the Izaak Synagogue in Krakow. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yosef publicly denounced the closing of the Krakow Izaak Synagogue in a letter to the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE). 
 
Yosef argued that even in cases of dispute “it is unlawful to prevent entry to a synagogue” and called the work done by Gurary a labour “which sanctifies the holy name in the world and reaching those who are far to their father in heaven.”
 
The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA) expressed their deep concern over the recent closing of the Izaak Synagogue on Monday. 
 
"To close a synagogue which houses the largest assembly of Jews praying in Krakow on a daily basis, is unacceptable," they said "we call upon the Jewish leadership of Krakow to reopen the Izaak Synagogue immediately."
 
They further mentioned that the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, informed them that during the upcoming Shabbat services roughly one hundred Jews will pray on the street outside the locked synagogue and at the Krakow JCC. 
 
"We pray that this is the last Shabbat of its kind," the statement ends. 
 
Schudrich himself was refused entry to the Izaak Synagogue when he tried to climb over the fence and go inside the house of prayer under his authority as the Chief Rabbi of Poland. He was briefly detained by police and released. 
 
The  Izaak Synagogue had been locked with the personal prayer books and Kosher food owned by the Jewish people who were visiting it daily due to a decision by the official Jewish Community of Krakow in what it claims is a dispute over money, ownership, and maintain a historic site which survived both Nazi occupation of Poland and that country’s socialist past.   
 
During a Saturday evening press conference Helena Jakubowicz, who is the vice-president of the Jewish community with her father Tadeusz serving as the president, said that “Chabad has no chance to return to the synagogue.”
 
She claimed that once the site is renovated, with funds already marked for the task by the Polish state, it will be open to all people, not only members of Chabad.
 
The stand of the official Jewish community is that Chabad failed to properly maintain the site and racked up debts for electric power usage as well as rent. Rabbi Gurary claims that the request to raise the rent both retroactively and in the sum his community will be asked to pay is outrageous and illegal. 
 
Gurary raged against what he called "a factory of lies," saying that "this Jewish community is beyond belief." 


According to Gurary, the current leadership of the Krakow Jewish community had acted in ill faith to control the elections to the Jewish board by removing anyone who is not in agreement with them and is essentially controlled by the Jakubowicz family. 
 
The public outcry over Jews being removed from a house of prayer they had been using for a decade led to a fierce protest by Krakow-born and Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg who publicly called on the Polish government to step in and nationalize all the properties now controlled by the Jewish community, which he says is controlled by the Jakubowicz family. 
 

“The Polish government, with whom I have 100% trust in them, should take over all the Jewish sights that are under the control of the Gmina (the Jewish community,” he wrote, “the fact that the Gmina (the Jewish community) put guards by the Issac Synagogue is a disgrace.” 




  




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