The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) hosted its 32nd General Convention in the Westin Grand Hotel, Munich, Germany.
Over 400 rabbis and rebbetzins, leading communities from 47 countries, gathered together to discuss pressing issues, network, and hear from a vast array of world-class rabbis, politicians, and educators. From Israel, prominent speakers included Rabbi David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel & President of the Beit Hadin Hagadol; and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the Rishon Lezion & Chief Rabbi of Israel; as well as Dayan Osher Weiss; and Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, Rosh Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael Chevron & Co-President of the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin.
The Convention also marked the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine. Prayers were recited and a private working session took place, seeking to alleviate the difficulties faced by Russian and Ukrainian Jewry. Rabbis from both Russia and Ukraine attended the Convention, and received support and inspiration. A tribute to the rabbis on the frontline: Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland; Rabbi Shlomo Bakst, Chief Rabbi of Odessa; Rabbi Refael Kruskal, CEO of Tikva Institutions in Odessa; and Rabbi Pinchas Zaltzman, rabbi of the haredi community in Moldova were also honored. Rabbi Bakst brought his thousand-strong community into Romania, refusing to leave until he was able to transfer every single community member to safety.
The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) has been heavily involved and active in supporting thousands of Jewish refugees from Ukraine, providing millions of pounds worth of aid and helping those displaced in many centers throughout the continent. The rabbis involved in these efforts, from Moldova, Hungary, Romania, and Poland, also spoke of their work.
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and CER Associate President, dedicated his lecture to the Convention’s second theme, dealing with the “post-pandemic world.”
The Convention also included a delegation to the Munich Olympic Village, the site of the massacre in 1972 of Israeli athletes, and a moving service of remembrance was held. During a visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp, the Kaddish prayer was recited to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of the European Rabbis, paid tribute to the selfless dedication of the rabbis of Europe, who dedicate their lives to the rebuilding of Jewish life across the continent.