Jewish Conference in Warsaw Considers Problems Arising out of New Decree on Religion

Problems concerning Jewish religious life in Poland were discussed here at a two-day conference of delegates of Jewish religious congregations. The conference condemned as “lies” reports recently published abroad of alleged pogroms in Poland and emphasized that such reports are harmful to Polish Jewry.

The major problem considered at the conference was the manner in which the Jewish religious communities in the country are to adjust themselves to the government decree of Aug. 5, dealing with the rights of all religious denominations in Poland. The decree guarantees autonomy and full equality in religious matters, but under its provisions Jewish religious groups would be prohibited from tying themselves to any foreign religious or secular bodies, except that in purely religious matters the congregations may consult the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem.

The conference adopted a resolution expressing thanks to the Polish Government for its guarantee of complete independence for Jewish religious bodies in their relations to all other organizations, including the Central Committee of Polish Jews. Rabbi David Kahane reviewed some of the clashes between the religious bodies and the Central Jewish Committee, pointing out that the religious congregations were not opposed to the activities of the Central Committee in the field of increasing productivity of Jews or in its social welfare activities, but that on religious matters the will of the congregations had been flouted.

In his presidential address at the conference, Rabbi Kahane also stated that the Polish Government had kept its promise to the Jewish people to give it freedom and equality. Terming the attitude of the government toward religious Jewry “positive,” the Rabbi–who is also head of the Mizrachi in Poland and was until recently Chief Jewish Chaplain of the Polish Army–said that the new statute grants the religious congregations juridical status in all matters pertaining to religious Jewry in Poland. Dr. Kahane also revealed that he is shortly immigrating to Israel.

He outlined the three basic principles which will determine the path of religious Jewry in Poland in the future as follows: 1. The reconstruction of Jewish religious life in Poland; 2. A loyal attitude toward the new Polish state; and, 3. The determination of religious Jews to return to Israel. J. Froman, vice-chairman of the central body of the Jewish religious congregations, reviewed the major activities of the congregations during the past year. He pointed out that they subsidized 63 synagogues and 42 religious schools which nearly 1,000 children were attending. Mr. Froman also disclosed that the central body maintained 24 kitchens, where religious Jews could obtain kosher food, and an orphanage.

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