Chief Polish rabbi climbs fence of barricaded synagogue

Courtesy of Shimon Briman via JTA 

Rabbi Michael Schudrich and Jonathan Ornstein climbing the fence of the barricaded Izaak Synagogue in Krakow, Poland on July 4, 2019.

(JTA) — Police in Krakow briefly detained the chief rabbi of Poland after he tried to climb the fence of a synagogue whose congregation has been evicted by leaders of that city’s Jewish community.

In the unusual incident July 4 at Krakow’s Izaak Synagogue, Rabbi Michael Schudrich was asked to explain his actions and present his identity card to police officers monitoring a protest rally outside the synagogue, which Schudrich attended.

The protest by several dozen people was over the eviction of a congregation led by arabbi from the synagogue by the Jewish Community of Krakow, which owns it. The rabbi, Eliezer Gurary, had worked there for years with the consent of the Jewish Community of Krakow, the official representative of the city’s Jewish community and a non-profit which is a member of Schudrich’s Union of Jewish Communities of Poland.

The Jewish Community of Krakow, which hired security guards to prevent Gurary’s congregation from entering the building, said in a statement that Gurary’s congregants had damaged the synagogue, though Gurary has denied this. Schudrich in a statement July 2 condemned the eviction.

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