Concerns of Polish Orthodox seeking a monopoly on the community

The Progressive Judaism movement in Poland has alleged that it is under threat of being taken over by the country’s main Orthodox group.

The creation of a new Progressive synagogue, Ec Chaim, under the auspices of Union of Jewish Religious Communities (UJRC), is perceived by some as a guise by the Orthodox community to help dissolve Beit Polska, a national umbrella group for Polish Progressive congregations.

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, senior rabbi for Beit Polska, said that the UJRC was “attempting to maintain an Orthodox monopoly” over Polish Jewish life.

Leslie Bergman, president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, said: “We are concerned that the government may grant monopolistic funding to one part of the community.”

This month, under pressure from the UJRC, a Warsaw administrative court will decide whether to annul Beit Polska’s registration as a Jewish organisation.

Piotr Kadlcik, president of the UJRC, said: “We never said the UJRC is Orthodox. Ec Chaim is running as a synagogue as a way to allow all Jews to be a part of the community. We are not fighting the registration of Beit Polska, but we are fighting the process of the registration, as it should be done in our presence.”

Last updated: 12:45pm, November 30 2012