Michael Schudrich

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Michael Joseph Schudrich (born June 15, 1955) is the Chief Rabbi of Poland. He is the oldest of four children of Rabbi David Schudrich and Doris Goldfarb Schudrich.[1]

Biography[edit]

Born in New York City, Schudrich lived in Patchogue, New York, where his father served as a pulpit rabbi.[2] His grandparents emigrated to the United States from Poland, Baligród, before World War II.[3] His brother, Nathaniel Schudrich, is the cantor at the Tifereth Israel synagogue in New Bedford, MA.

Educated in Jewish day schools in the New York City area, Schudrich graduated from Stony Brook University in 1977 with a Religious Studies major and received an MA in History from Columbia University in 1982. He received Conservative smicha (rabbinical ordination) from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and later, an Orthodox smicha through Yeshiva University from Rabbi Moshe Tendler. He served as rabbi of the Jewish Community of Japan from 1983 to 1989.[4]

After leading Jewish groups on numerous trips to Eastern Europe, Schudrich began working for the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and resided in Warsaw, Poland, from 1992 to 1998.

He returned to Poland in June 2000 as Rabbi of Warsaw and Łódź, and in December 2004 was appointed Chief Rabbi of Poland.[5] Schudrich has played a central role in the "Jewish Renaissance" in Poland.

Schudrich is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and the Conference of European Rabbis. In Kashrut he cooperates with the Orthodox Union, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) and other Kashrut organizations. Schudrich has been a Polish citizen since November 3, 2005, and now holds both American and Polish citizenship.

On May 27, 2006, Schudrich was attacked in central Warsaw by a 33-year-old man, who confessed to assaulting the Jewish leader with what appeared to be pepper spray. According to the police, the perpetrator had ties to "Nazi organizations" and a history of football-related hooliganism.[6]

Rabbi Schudrich had been invited to travel on the aircraft that crashed on 10 April 2010, killing 96 people including the Polish president. He refused as it would have violated the Jewish Sabbath, a decision which saved his life.[7]

Controversy[edit]

In May 2006 an Israeli newspaper accused Schudrich of participating in a conversion where one of the participant rabbis, Haim Drukman, falsely signed his presence. This raised doubts on the Halachic validity of the whole procedure.[8][9] In addition, according to the Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur, a committee founded by tha late Antwerp Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth to oversee the validity of conversions, Schudrich's graduation from the Jewish Theological Seminary—the flagship rabbinical school for the Conservative movement—and his heading a Conservative pulpit in Japan, disqualified him from presiding over conversions under Orthodox standards.[10]

In 2012, the crisis in the Jewish community in Warsaw sparked a bar mitzvah boy who - as it turned out after many years - was not Jewish according to Halakha. The ceremony in 2004 was planned and performed by Rabbi Schudrich

References[edit]

External links[edit]