Leading European Rabbis gathered in Vienna, Austria, at the invitation of the Chief Rabbi Harav Aryeh Folger and the Rav of the Sephardic community Rabbi Yitzchak Niazov.
The meeting was an opportunity to share the achievements and challenges facing European Jewry today, including the need to address the ever-growing place of technology in everyday life.
Dayan Yisroel Yaakov Lichtenstein, Rosh Beis Din of the Federation of Synagogues in London, stated, “Technology is evolving, and is now a basic requirement for living in the world, in terms of commerce and more – which requires us to evolve as well. Technology, if approached under halachic guidance, can be used in a kosher way.”
On that note, the development of the kashrus system was also addressed by the council. Rabbi Yosef Minsky, director of the EK Kashrut Organization at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), noted that the organization was responsible for the fact that a large variety of food products can now be purchased in many European food stores.
Achievements to recognize included the building of 64 mikvaos across Europe, and the annual bnei mitzvah trip organized by the Morashah Department of the RCE for the past 10 years. Both of these are of great service to Europe’s Jewish community.
The annual trip, which culminates in a special tour of Israel, has proven to be a wonderful influence on the Jewish youth involved in the program. In years past, the trip has influenced boys to consider bris milah and taking on a Jewish name.
Additionally, a discussion was held on how to prevent false conversions and how to respectfully conduct investigations.
A special session was devoted to Jewish education and what actions the council should take in order to strengthen the role of the Rabbis and their support in aiding the Jewish communities throughout Europe.
The actions tabled at the gathering will hopefully fortify the Jewish European community at large and help future generations conduct their practical and spiritual Jewish lives with the right support.