Rabbi Michael Schudrich
Rabbi Michael SchudrichYoni Kempinski

The European Beth Din (EBD) of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) has just made a significant and historic arrangement with the Chief Rabbinate of Poland, establishing itself as the official and only Beit Din that will service the Polish Jewish community.

The agreement, which commenced on the 1st March 2022, was brokered by Dayan Elimelech Vanzetta, working in his capacity as Director of the European Beth Din. It was signed by Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the CER, on behalf of the European Beth Din; and by Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich of Poland on behalf of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.

The Beth Din, a Jewish rabbinical court, will be the sole and single such court to service the Jewish communities in Poland, thereby ensuring that the halachic standards of conversion (geirus), divorce (gittin), arbitration and mediation remain high and uniformed. The European Beth Din will work in cooperation and coordination with the Chief Rabbi of Poland but still maintain all the independence and autonomy required by a Beth Din.

The agreement will bring about a close collaboration between the dayanim of the Beth Din and the Chief Rabbi of Poland. The esteemed EBD dayanim will visit Poland at least three times a year and will also travel to Poland when called upon. The Beth Din’s director, Dayan Vanzetta, will remotely oversee the daily running of the agreement.

Chief Rabbi Schudrich of Poland has also been heavily involved in helping great numbers of Ukrainian refugees, who have fled to Poland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Chief Rabbi Schudrich has been appointed as the official CER spokesperson in all matters pertaining to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

More generally, the CER has been providing funds to support both the refugees and the various local European communities welcoming them, offering food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. Furthermore, they have recruited and dispatched several teams of rabbis, Russian-speaking translators, and psychologists to offer a range of support to those fleeing and displaced.

The European Beth Din was established over 15 years ago, as an initiative of the late Chief Rabbi Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, who then served as President of the Conference of European Rabbis. It was set up as a response to repeated requests from European communities where there were no functioning Rabbinical Courts. The European Beth Din was thus established to meet this demand, providing comprehensive and reputable Jewish legal services to communities across the continent, especially those that have no such infrastructure themselves.