Chabad Krakow Rabbi slams Jewish leadership: 'they work in lies'

Rabbi Eliezer Gurary slammed the Jewish community for "working in a lie-producing factory," saying that, "they have no right to take our personal things."

July 7, 2019 21:47
3 minute read.
Chabad Krakow Rabbi slams Jewish leadership: 'they work in lies'

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

Chabad Rabbi Eliezer Gurary slammed Jewish community on Sunday for "working in a lie-producing factory," following a statement by the treasurer of the Jewish community, who claimed that the community is not obligated to finance private groups such as Chabad in Poland.

The treasurer, Aleksander Opoczynski, added photos to his Facebook post in which he showed the condition of the historical Izaak Synagogue.

Izaak Synagogue in mid-June 2019 / JCC Krakow

The prayer site, which survived the Nazi occupation of Poland and the years when Poland was under socialism, came into focus around the world when the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich was denied entry to the synagogue.

The Jewish community, who used the site for daily prayers and study, were removed by force and the gates locked, in what many in Poland and the Jewish world view as the official Jewish community being extremely harsh.

JCC Krakow head Jonathan Ornstein sent the Post a photograph of a "Dinner in a beautiful, well maintained synagogue where the power had been shut off and a generator had to be brought in to run the electricity," the event was held as part of Ride for the Living and was taken in June.     

Gurary raged against what he called "a factory of lies," saying that "this Jewish community is beyond belief."

According to Gurary, the community does not, and never did support any Jewish group, not to mention Chabad, 

"All it did was ask Jewish groups to support it, not the other way around," he told The Jerusalem Post. He said that Chabad actually gave the Jewish community kosher food to use at their own events.

Opoczynski said that when Chabad didn't pay a debt of PLN 30,000 ($7,900) to the electric company, they were cut off. At this point he claims that Chabad arranged an illegal power grid connection, which was a fire hazard.

He claimed that during the decade Chabad leased the space they allowed it to crumble, to the point where falling bricks could hit pedestrians. He also said that the Polish government had provided the official Jewish community of Krakow with funds to renovate Izaak Synagogue.

“The work will begin in a few days,” he said. “After it is over, the site will be open to all.”

Gurary called this "a lie," adding that the head of the community Tadeusz Jakubowitcz is known to be "cheap."

The rabbi said that the sum stated by the treasurer is based on a false calculation of a rent increase from May 2018, which is being discussed in court. 

"The site is in great condition" [on the inside] he said, adding that as a historic house of prayer, Chabad could not fix it from the outside as only the owner could appeal to the Polish Historical Preservation Authority and get such an agreement.

"The Jewish community got the approval a year and a half ago," he said. 

Daily prayer services are held facing the locked gates in an ongoing protest, which raised questions about how the Jewish community of the city is treating historic assets. 

Gurary explained that the official community increased the rent to 25,000 PLN ($6,650) per month and requested 170,000 PLN ($45,000) in back payments – a sum they have now increased, he said, to 300,000 PLN ($80,000).

He claimed his contract with the official Jewish community stated that the renting option will be renewed at the end of each year at the same sum.  

The gates of the synagogue were chained and armed guards were placed there to prevent entry by the serving rabbis and Jews who use the house of worship.

At the time of this writing the synagogue is locked with the personal prayer books, milk processed by Jews [halav Yisrael] and meat locked inside. The people who own these items cannot enter and get them, despite the fact it belongs to them.

This is "kosher food we all need for our daily lives," Gurary said. "They have no right to do this." 


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