The European governments’ decision to force privately owned educational institutions to attend general studies in the morning was discussed at length during the council meeting of the “Rabbinical Centre of Europe”. The topic was presented by a member of the Council of Rabbis, Rabbi Yaakov Biderman, Rabbi of the Heichal Menachem Synagogue in Vienna, Austria. He pointed out that there is a significant threat to the continued approval of studies in a private setting, and that governments in Europe that approve government budgets as part of the financing of children’s education demand that general studies take place in the morning hours, which could harm the frameworks of Jewish education.
Member of the Council Rabbi Pinchas Leibush Padwa, Chief Rabbi and Av Beit Din of ‘Shomeri Hadat’ Antwerp, Belgium stated that the older the student is the bigger the problem. Older students are asked by the local ministries of education to take tests on various general subjects.
The chairman of the RCE, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who lives in Brussels, is an experienced father of children in the educational system and knows the Ministry of Education’s different demands. Students who study in private educational settings, are constantly tested to make sure that they are proficient in the study material. The demands rise as the child gets older. After a long discussion, it was decided that the rabbis would form their opinion on the issue and schedule a meeting with various personalities in the European Union and present their position to the organization’s leaders.
Later that day, the rabbis gathered for a fascinating meeting and discussed issues for several hours. Chairman of the RCE Rabbi Menachem Margolin and the CEO of the RCE Rabbi Arie Goldberg presented the significant developments of the RCE over the past few years. They gave an extensive overview of the 83 Mikvas that were built with the assistance of the RCE as well as the long list of professional Halachic seminars that were held in the various European countries.
Rabbi Yosef Bainhaker, Vice President of the RCE, described in detail the establishment of 26 ‘European Chesed Centers’ for loaning medical equipment that have opened during the past two years in Europe by the RCE.
Rabbi Avraham Abba Torezki, Council Secretary of European Rabbis, spoke about the many activities the RCE performs in the field of clarifying Judaism and also various halachic issues, and congratulated the rabbis who recently joined as members of the Council of European Rabbis.
During the main event, a discussion developed between the rabbis about the ongoing war in Ukraine causing the growing expenses of kosher products, causing many Jews to not observe kashrut. The rabbis also discussed the complex issue of Jewish cemeteries throughout Europe and made decisions on how to proceed with local authorities so as not to violate the Torah laws of Jewish burial.
During the conference, the rabbis called out to amend the Law of Return in the next government that will soon be established. The rabbis pointed out the importance of the “Who is a Jew” law and that issues like conversion and kashrut reforms, have a direct impact on the Jews throughout Europe. The rabbis spoke about the responsiveness received from, the rebbes and Roshei yeshiva who promised to act on this matter and correct the distortion.
Tuesday evening, the rabbis visited kever Rachel Imeinu‘ praying fervently for their continued success, for European Jews in general and for Jews of Ukraine and Russia who at present are severely challenged. The rabbis prayed a special prayer for the Ukraine Rabbis in these troubled times.