WARSAW—Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau published a letter in which he called on the Jewish community of Krakow to reopen the Izaak Synagogue after its closure following a clash with the local Chabad rabbi.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of international Chabad-Lubavitch, last Friday issued a statement saying: “We are shocked by the forced closure of the historic Izaak Synagogue in Krakow where the local Jewish community and thousands of visitors come daily to prayer services, to join educational classes and programming, to buy kosher food, and to benefit from a host of community activities. This is an outrageous offense, a travesty of grave magnitude, and is the cause of a terrible disgrace and desecration of all that is sacred to Judaism, a Hillul HaShem (desecration of the Divine).’’
According to a JTA report, on Thursday, Krakow Police arrested Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, after he had climbed the fence of the synagogue, after the congregation was evicted by heads of the local Jewish community. Apparently, the community group hired masked Polish guards to keep worshipers out of the synagogue.
The main target of the shutdown was Krakow’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Eliezer Gurary, of Lubavitch, who has been active in the synagogue for years. The clash between the Jewish Community of Krakow and the Chabad-run synagogue was reportedly sparked by a property dispute.
The Izaak Synagogue was built in 1644 in the historic Kazimierz District of Krakow.
Rabbi Krinsky declared: “We strongly support the efforts of Rabbi Eliezer Gurary who has been working faithfully and successfully, in close cooperation with local and Jewish organizations, to serve the spiritual needs of Krakow’s Jewish community. That Jewish people should be barred by armed guards, from entering the synagogue, is an unforgivable violation of Jewish life. We implore you, do not stand by idly and allow this to continue. The synagogue should be opened immediately.”
Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, who is not Chabad, criricized the synagogue closure in a letter to the Jewish community leader, Tadeusz Jakubowicz. ‘’ The Izaak Shul is the one place in Krakow with a steady daily minyan (prayer service),’’ he wrote.