Pinchas Goldschmidt (b. 21 July 1963 in Zurich) has been the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Russia since 1993 and represents the Russian Jewish community publicly. He is the spiritual leader of the Moscow Choral Synagogue, the head of the rabbinical court of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), president of the Conference of European Rabbis and is an officer of the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC). Goldschmidt represents the Russian Jewish community politically as well.
Goldschmidt played a major role in founding and developing communal structures from colleges, day schools and kindergartens, soup kitchens and rabbinical schools, to political umbrella structures, such as the Russian Jewish Congress and the Congress of the Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations in Russia (CJROAR).
Goldschmidt represents the Russian Jewish community politically. He published op-eds in the international press pertaining to the issues of the day. He has also addressed the US Senate, the EU Parliament, The Council of Europe, The Israeli Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's "Neeman Commission", Oxford University, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Berlin Conference on anti-Semitism, and Harvard University, discussing the state of the Jewish Community, and the threats of anti-Semitism.
In January 2005, five hundred people, including newspaper editors, public intellectuals and 19 Duma deputies published an appeal to the Prosecutor General of Russia. The petitioners called for the closure of Jewish organized life in Russia. A subsequent television call-in show, during which 100,000 people phoned in, revealed that 54% of the participants supported the idea of banning all Jewish organizations in Russia. Goldschmidt wrote a detailed response to all the accusations and addressed the letter to Dmitriy Rogozin, leader of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, who, after receiving Goldschmidt's letter, apologized and distanced himself from the petition.
He also leads the Conference of European Rabbis, the rabbinical umbrella group of Europe (uniting four hundred rabbis from Dublin to Khabarovsk) as the chairman of the Standing Committee.
Since July 2011, Goldschmidt is the new president of the Conference of European Rabbis. He was elected by the CER's Standing Committee meeting in London and succeeds the former Chief Rabbi of France (1987–2009), Joseph Sitruk, who had held the post since 1999. Only the fourth president of the CER in its 54-year history, Rabbi Goldschmidt is the first to hold the post from outside Western Europe.
Goldschmidt was deported from Russia during September 2005, and was allowed to return to his community after three months, only after an international campaign. In 2010 by special order of Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, he was made a citizen of Russia. He takes an active part in interfaith dialogue gatherings with Christians and Muslims in New York, Paris, Astana, Seville, Vienna and Moscow.
Quote: "I understand that, most probably, a not insignificant part of the (Jewish) community here voted for Hofer for the presidency. [...] When God gave out intelligence, not everybody stood in line. And so when those parties come with a populist message to the Jews and say 'We're going to save you from the Muslims' ... propaganda is effective"
He also condemned what he said was the tendency of far-right parties to conflate ordinary Muslims with Islamist militants. "(The) moderate Muslim is our natural ally. They are as much the victims of radical Islamism as we Jews. It is the populism, the generalization, which is dangerous and destructive."
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Last updated: Thu Jun 09 2016 19:16:42
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