Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
BUDAPEST – “The Jewish religion is under attack in Europe” today, Conference of
European Rabbis president Pinchas Goldschmidt told The Jerusalem Post on Monday
in Budapest, where he was attending the World Jewish Congress’ 14th plenary
The CER boasts that it represents more than 700 communal rabbis
in Europe – around “80 percent” of the continent’s synagogues.
current attack, Goldschmidt argued, is a contemporary manifestation of
traditional European anti-Semitism.
Quoting outgoing UK Chief Rabbi Lord
Jonathan Sacks, Goldschmidt described a “process” in which as Europe has
secularized, anti-Semitism has evolved from religious bigotry to “secular
racist” sentiment to its current form of prejudice while “speaking the language
of human rights.”
“Part of this is the delegitimization of the State of
Israel and is also the delegitimization of the Jewish religion,” he explained,
adding that the current challenges facing European Jewish practice are attacks
and on [brit] mila
,” ritual slaughter and circumcision.
rabbi cited the current ban on kosher slaughter in Poland, which until recently
had served as a major exporter of kosher and halal meat.
community exists in a kind of “limbo,” he said, despite efforts by Poland’s
Ministry of Agriculture to introduce legislation that would permit such
slaughter for religious reasons.
While circumcision has been recently
re-legalized for Jews in Germany, Goldschmidt told the Post
, challenges still
remain in that country.
A recent circumcision ceremony conducted by a
hassidic rabbi in Berlin – during which he performed a controversial custom in
which blood is orally suctioned from the wound – threatened to reopen the debate
regarding circumcision, he said.
The issue of circumcision is an
existential one for German Jews, Goldschmidt said he told German
“If brit mila is going to be prohibited in Germany, this is
the end of the Jewish community here,” he explained.
“It means that even
if a German citizen is going to take his child to Israel or Belgium to do brit
mila, according to the law these parents are going to be considered
German Chancellor Angela Merkel “accepted” the Jewish
community’s arguments and pushed for decriminalization of the practice,
Goldschmidt said. She will be receiving the 2013 Lord Jakobovits Prize of
European Jewry on May 22 in the Great Synagogue of Europe, in Brussels.
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