Russian chief rabbi steps down


Eastern Europe


Pinchas Goldschmidt. Photo AFP, David Gannon

The Russian chief Rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, announced his withdrawal. The Rabbi took this decision after he fled to Israel because of the Russo-Ukrainian war. He has been in office for almost 30 years.

Goldschmidt was not fired, Times of Israel reports. Instead, his contract expired. Even though the Moscow Jewish Religious Society board voted for a contract extension for Goldschmitdh, the representatives of Goldschmidt's congregation said his role had ended. The community is said to be concerned about its safety had it extended the contract.

The Rabbi himself said to Times of Israel that he left his position because of his stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "I could not remain silent, view so much human suffering", he said in a statement. He was also clear about his re-election by the board of the Jewish Society: "It is clearly in the interest of the future of the community that I now leave my post."

Goldschmidt had fled Ukraine, as CNE.news reported earlier. His daughter-in-law said that the Rabbi was pressured to support the war but declined to do so.

According to the Times of Israel, Goldschmidt has had trouble with the Russian authorities. He was denied entry into Russia in 2005. Furthermore, he centred his career more on Western Europe. He has served as the head of the Conference of European Rabbis since 2011 and will continue to do so.



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