Rumania’s Chief Rabbi Says Jewish Community Getting Older, Smaller but Needs More Rabbis

Rumanian Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen said today there was an immediate need for 15 Rabbis and 20 Schochtim (ritual slaughterers) to serve the Jewish community in Rumania.

At the same time, Rosen said the 33,000 member Jewish community is not “dying,” but now remains an “older community,” with 60 percent of their members 65 years old or above. He predicted a drop in the total numbers to 20,000 by the end of the decade. Rosen speaking at a press conference held under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) said that in the past 33 years, 350,000 Jews have emigrated with about 95 percent of them going to Israel. He noted that the younger people, with an estimated seven percent under 20, according to the JDC, make aliya after their education is finished.

CONSIDERING RETIREMENT

Rosen also expressed concern for the Jewish community once he decided to retire from his post, a point he alluded to during the press conference. He said he would like to settle in Israel soon and divide his time between Israel and Rumania.

Rosen, who met with members of the Reagan Administration last week, said the Jewish community of Rumania is allowed religious freedom as well as to openly identify with the Jewish state. According to lists now available, Rosen said 732 Rumanian Jews left the country this year in the period ending Oct. 30. There remained an additional 537 holding approved exit permits while another 448 applicants have yet to be approved, he said.

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