European rabbinical group mourns Polish President who had ‘close relationship to the Jewish community’

BRUSSELS (EJP)—The Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) mourned the tragic untimely passing of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and many senior personalities of the Polish society.

„We will sadly miss this leader who had a close relationship to the Jewish community and to Israel, both as Mayor of Warsaw and as President of the Republic of Poland,” the RCE said in a statement.

Lech Kaczynski died Saturday in a plane crash in Russia.

„As a great friend and national leader, we warmly recall his sympathy not just with words, but combined with concrete actions. He was staunchly committed to the Museum of History of Polish Jews museum on the site of the former Jewish ghetto in Warsaw and regularly took part in Jewish events and ceremonies thereby contributing to the resurgence of Polish-Jewish life.”

„On these painful moments, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Poland and the family and loved-ones of the tragically perished,” the European rabbinical organization said.

Kaczynski was a firm friend of Poland’s Jewish community, which has enjoyed a revival in recent years after it was nearly wiped out in the Holocaust and later suffered from communist-era repression.

In 2008, he became the first head of state to attend a religious service at a synagogue in Poland..

According to an Israeli news report, a Jewish delegation from Poland, including the American-born Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, was spared from certain death by refusing to violate the Sabbath to fly with President Lech Kaczynski in Russia.

The Jewish delegation was supposed to fly with the president, according to Warsaw Rabbi Meir Stembler. „The delegation canceled its participation after it was understood that that plane was to fly on the Sabbath,” he explained.


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