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Polish Rabbis Proclaim 18 Meatless Days As Protest on Shechita Bill

March 9, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A special conference of 500 rabbis from all over Poland today proclaimed an 18-day meatless period for Jews, starting March 14, in protest against a measure before Parliament that would prohibit completely the practice of shechita, Jewish ritual method of slaughtering animals for human consumption. Shechita has been under partial proscription throughout Poland since Jan. 1, 1937.

The measure, which has already been adopted by a Parliamentary committee, would put the ban into effect by stages with final prohibition set for the end of 1942. It was scheduled to be submitted to a plenary session of the Sejm today but failed to come up and no date was set for a debate.

The rabbinical conference, after an all-night session, also proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer to coincide with the day the shechita measure is brought to the Sejm floor for action. On that day, too, it was decided to declare a “cherem” (virtual excommunication) against all Jewish butchers who sold as kosher meat not prepared in the ritual way. From March 14 to 31, Poland’s 3,500,000 Jews are ordered by the rabbis to refrain from eating meat, except for poultry. During that period, the practice of shechita will be suspended throughout the country, Jewish butcher shops will be closed and Jewish restaurants will not serve meat.

At the same time, the conference drafted a petition to Premier Skladkowski and the Minister of Religions, urging them not to permit prohibition of shechita on the grounds that it violated the Polish Constitution and abridged the freedom of conscience of religious Jews. A protest against the shechita bill was submitted to the Minister of Agriculture yesterday by a delegation of Polish Moslems and Karaites, a heretical Jewish sect.

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