December 2, 2013

European Jews Watch Kosher Slaughter in Poland With Great Interest

WARSAW — European Jews across the continent are watching with great interest on how the kosher slaughter ban in Poland will play out. Rabbis and community leaders say that they are concerned that if the ban sticks, more countries will feel emboldened and even the European Union (EU) may choose to take a fresh look at curtailing kosher slaughter. 

The ban has been front and center at conferences of European rabbis and has drawn protest from as far away as Israel where President Shimon Peres weighed in against curtailing schechita in a country that was once the center of Jewish life in pre-War Europe. It has brought Jews and Muslims together as the two groups filed a joint complaint at the European Commission against Poland. Both kosher and halal meat must come from an animal which has not been rendered unconscious and is slaughtered in accordance with religious law. Meanwhile the Polish Constitutional Tribunal has agreed to review an appeal by the Polish Jewish Community on shechitah. A date for the Tribunal session has not yet been set.