Moscow’s chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, “in exile” after resisting Kremlin pressure to support the war in Ukrainesaid his daughter-in-law.
Goldschmidt, who also chairs the Conference of European Rabbis, left Russia just weeks after it launched its invasion of Ukraine, saying he had to take care of his ailing father in Jerusalem.
But this week his daughter-in-law revealed that Goldschmidt and his wife also came under official pressure to support the war and now consider themselves in exile because of their opposition to what happened. Russia He called it her “special military operation.”
“I can finally share this with my in-laws, the chief rabbi of Moscow [Pinchas Goldschmidt] & Rebbetzin Dara Goldschmidt, were pressured by the authorities to offer public support for “Special Operation” in Ukraine – and refused, “Avital esek Goldschmidt, journalist married to Goldschmidt’s son, Benjamin, wrote on twitter Tuesday evening.
Goldschmidt has been the chief rabbi of Moscow since 1993 and is one of the most influential Jewish leaders in Russia. If the account is confirmed, Goldschmidt will be a rare prominent religious leader to leave Russia due to opposition to the war. Orthodox Bishop, Patriarch Kirill, and Other Religious Leaders of Russia express support from the war.
The Guardian has written to Goldschmidt and Chizhik-Goldschmidt for comment.
“They are now in exile from the community they loved, built and raised their children in over 33 years,” Czeczek-Goldschmidt wrote, describing the journey that took her in-laws through Hungary and then Eastern Europe, where she said they helped fundraising efforts for Ukrainian refugees.
He went to Jerusalem, where his father was in the hospital.
“The pain and fear in our family for the past few months are beyond words,” she said. “The ring of the Moscow Choral Synagogue rings in our ears… I will never forget our engagement there in the year 14, taking our children there, Shavuos ’18… Grateful to our parents safely; worried about the illness of many…”
demographics Estimation There are about 150,000 Jews in Russia.
Goldschmidt was re-elected on Tuesday for another seven-year term as Moscow’s chief rabbi and leader of the Moscow Synagogue, one of Russia’s most famous houses of worship. He remained in office while abroad, delegating power to his deputy in his absence.
His re-election was supported by a number of senior Israeli rabbis who demanded “that no change be made in the composition of the rabbinic and the court without coordination with us.” Another conservative religious leader in Israel warned that “we are witnessing a difficult reality when governments try to interfere in the tenure of rabbis.”
There were also reports of government pressure to replace Goldschmidt in the election. “The coup attempt failed,” a source in the Russian Jewish community told the Jerusalem Post.
Goldschmidt had previously told Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that “I did not define myself as an exile rabbi, I am a rabbi who does not live in his community.”
But at the opening ceremony of the Conference of European Rabbis in Munich last week, Goldschmidt was accompanied by several German bodyguards while giving a speech attacking the war.
“We must pray for peace and for the end of this terrible war,” he said. “We must pray that this war ends soon and does not escalate into a nuclear conflict that could destroy humanity.”
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