Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Adar 5761 - March 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Conference of European Rabbis Meets in Germany
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

History was made last week when the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) held its Standing Committee meeting in Germany for the first time. It was attended by twenty- six Chief Rabbis and Rabbis from eleven countries. Some had come for the weekend and addressed the Munich community at a number of specially organized events.

Many issues facing European communities were dealt with and special reports were given on communities in Romania, Belarus, Macedonia, Russia, Spain, and Lithuania.

The enormous growth of the community in Germany and the pressures this has created on the existing structure of the community were one of the reasons for the meeting to be held in Germany.

A call was made for the Zentralrat -- the Central Committee of the German community -- to consider establishing a central chief rabbinate of its own which will be able to deal with the increasing number of halachic and religious issues facing them.

Deep concern was also expressed at the continued Russian government interference into the affairs of the Jewish community.

At a civic reception held in the impressive gothic Town Hall, the Lord Mayor Christian Ude expressed the thanks of the city of Munich to the rabbis for the "overwhelming gesture in choosing our city for your religious dialogue, the place where National Socialism - Nazi party was founded. This no doubt reflects your understanding of our efforts to ensure that our new society encourages tolerance and understanding."

The Mayor informed the Rabbis of a planned Jewish Synagogue community center that is to be built in the center of the city. This plan will also include a Jewish school a kindergarten and a kosher restaurant. They are also planning to build a Jewish museum that will feature the history of the Jewish community of Munich.

"This should not only be for Jews but also for others in order to enable them to learn about the illustrious contribution made by the Jews to our city in the past," according to the Mayor.

British Chief Rabbi J. Sacks, in responding, stressed the difficulties that the CER had faced before it felt confident enough to hold a meeting in Germany. However the path Germany is now taking in fighting right wing extremist groups and its attitude to its own past, enabled the CER to take its decision.

At a crowded press conference, CER president Chief Rabbi J Sitruk of France pointed out that the growth of minority communities in a country is a barometer of its democracy and human rights. One therefore welcomes the "Freedom Factor" in today's Germany where a Jewish community is being encouraged and welcomed.


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