The meeting of the Standing Committee of the CER
The gathering of the committee of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) met this past Monday in the large Beis Yisroel shul in Geneva. The attending rabbis dealt with a gamut of subjects involving European Jewry, particularly that of the overtly anti-Semitic legislation against shechita and circumcision. In the course of this assembly, the rabbonim met with the leadership of the Jewish community, and government officials from Switzerland and other European countries. They also visited the various communal institutions and met parliament members, as well as experts and heads of Jewish organizations to deal with current problems and the ways to fight the problems through possible solutions.
Rabbis from many countries and cities came, under the leadership of HaRav Chanoch HaKohen Ehrentreu. Also attending was the head of the Standing Committee and Raavad of London, HaRav Menachem Gelli. In addition those present included heads of botei din and dayanim from most of the countries of the European Union, including France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria, and heads of Jewish organizations in Europe and the United States. This assembly was held under the sponsorship of the Jewish Community Committee in Geneva and its head, HaRav Yitzchok Dayan.
Chairman of the Standing Committee, Av Beis Din of the London Beis Din, HaRav Menachem Gelli, said at the opening session which he chaired: "Along with the painful news in many of the subjects which will be discussed in the course of this convention, we can report with great satisfaction that the topic of conversions has been upgraded considerably by the acceptance of across-the-board criteria and cooperation on this subject of all botei din in Europe and Israel." HaRav Gelli reported to the attending people of substantial progress regarding amendments and cooperation on the subject of conversion and operative methods in the various botei din in Europe according to the program decided upon in the Antwerp assembly which took place half a year ago.
In the course of the session, the rabbis also discussed the fluctuating political situation throughout Europe and the rising anti-Semitism. They expressed anxiety over the strengthening of the extreme Right in Germany, France and Austria, and the legislation against shechita in Belgium in particular, and legislative attempts against shechita and circumcision in additional countries.
The leading rabbonim of Eretz Yisroel also issued a letter of encouragement and guidance which is translated here.