Behind-The-Scenes Efforts For Chief Rabbi of
by Eliezer Rauchberger
Israel's ambassador to Moscow and other involved parties
have launched a behind-the-scenes attempt to solve the
problem of affronts to the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi
Pinchas Goldschmidt. This was announced by Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister Nuvaf Maslacha last week in the Knesset.
"These efforts are apparently bearing fruit, because the
Russian Foreign Ministry told Rabbi Goldschmidt that there
had been a `misunderstanding.' His visa to Moscow was
extended and the unpleasant episode has ended."
At the deliberation, UTJ MK Rabbi Ravitz added, "I have
known Rabbi Goldschmidt for many years, and he has done much
lesheim Shomayim to spread Yiddishkeit in Russia. He
has been active for more than ten years in Moscow, making
vast contributions to Yiddishkeit and to Jews who immigrated
to Israel. He set up a beis din to determine
Jewishness and helped many Jews. Over the years, he was
elected to the position of the Chief Rabbi of Russia."
Rabbi Ravitz asked the Knesset, along with the chairman of
the Knesset, to issue a call from the Israel parliament to
the Russian parliament and president to the effect that we
in Israel will not remain silent over a precedent in which a
government decides who the rabbonim will be, and ousts those
it doesn't like from the country.
MK Yigal Bibi (Mafdal) also protested the attempt to oust
Rabbi Goldschmidt by not extending his visa, noting that
this disconcerting behavior is reminiscent of the Stalinist
regime. "Eviction of a spiritual leader is an ominous sign,"