European rabbis discuss 'legislative terror'

Dozens of European rabbis and Jewish leaders gather in Latvia to discuss anti-Semitic legislation.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Conference of European Rabbis meets in Riga
Conference of European Rabbis meets in Riga
Eli Itkin

The Conference of European Rabbis' Standing Committee met on Monday in a synagogue in Riga, Latvia, to discuss strengthening the Jewish community and its institutions.

Attending the conference were rabbis and rabbinical judges from around Europe, including from Germany, France, Britain, Holland, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, and Austria.

The committee discussed various legislative initiatives which have anti-Semitic overtones or undertones, such as the ban on shechita (ritual slaughter) and circumcision. They also met with Latvia's President, Prime Minister, and various ministers and government officials.

Conference of European Rabbis President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said "Thank G-d, Europe has overcome the brutal terror against Jews, but they have not yet overcome the legislative terror against religious commandments, which harms almost every country in Europe."

"The synagogue we are sitting in survived the days of horror thanks to its eastern wall, which it shares with a church. The Nazis did not want to harm the place of worship, so they did not burn the synagogue. This is the reason why, above the Holy Ark, there is an inscription found in no other synagogue in the world: 'Blessed is G-d, who did not allow us to become prey between their teeth.' (Psalms 124:6).

"And what is more symbolic than when the rabbis of European countries, who are renewing the Jewish communities with even more strength, gather to discuss ways to handle the 'predators' of today - legislation which is intended to limit us. With G-d's help, and with determination and perseverance, we will overcome them."