Polish president vows to support kosher slaughter

President says Poland considers preserving religious rights of Jewish community a national interest of supreme importance.

President of Poland  Bronislaw Komorowski  370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar )
President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar )
Poland considers preserving the religious rights of the country’s Jewish community to be a national interest of supreme importance, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said last week.
Meeting with several leading European rabbis and leaders of the local Jewish community, Komorowski said that he “will take significant steps to advance the issue of approval of kosher slaughter,” which has been banned in his country since January.
The ban has deeply affecting the local cattle industry, which was previously one of the leading European exporters of kosher and hallal meat.
In July, a government-sponsored bill aimed at legalizing the practice of shechita, or ritual slaughter, was shot down in parliament in a vote of 222 to 178.
Since then, the Polish Jewish community has vowed to take the issue to Poland’s Constitutional Court, with Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich telling the president he expects to submit a petition within 10 days.
In the meantime, he said, there is “no shortage of kosher meat” for the upcoming High Holy Days.
Schudrich had previously told The Jerusalem Post that local Jews were continuing to slaughter animals according to Jewish ritual for their own needs.
“Following the Polish parliament’s decision not to approve measures to protect shechita, a huge amount of activity has been going on throughout the summer, led by the CER [Conference of European Rabbis] in consultation with the Polish community, the European Jewish Congress, Shechita UK and others,” the CER’s Moshe Friedman told the Post.
Among those who have come out in support of overturning the slaughter ban have been Józef Kowalczyk, archbishop of Gniezno and primate of Poland, and Apostolic Nuncio Celelestino Migliore, Friedman said.