Sunday, June 29, 2008

First rabbis ordained in Poland since Holocaust

from Reuters via Haaretz:

Two rabbis, the first to be ordained in Poland since World War Two, received their diplomas from Warsaw's Rabbinical College on Sunday.

Nine students from the United States and Israel were granted rabbinical rights at a ceremony presided over by Poland's chief rabbi, U.S.-born Michael Schudrich, and attended by Jewish clergy from Poland, Israel and Britain.

This was a ceremony of historic proportions," said Rabbi Szalom Ber Stambler, who heads the college. "For centuries, Poland had been a world center of Jewish studies laying down the code of proper Jewish conduct."

Most of Poland's 3.5 million Jews were killed by the Nazi Germans in ghettos and extermination camps during World War Two. Since Poland ended communist rule in 1989, a Jewish religious and cultural renaissance has been under way. The college was re-established in 2005.

"Nothing remains of the German invaders who wanted to destroy the Jewish nation, but the Yeshiva (Jewish school) building has survived," remarked Rabbi Gedalia Herc of London. "Warsaw had always been a center of Jewish culture, to which Jews from all over the world travelled to partake of the wisdom of the Torah," remarked one of the new rabbis, Jakub Kruglak of Israel.

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