A group of Europe’s top Chief Rabbis – including the UK’s Ephraim Mirvis – enjoyed a visit to the south of France to meet Prince Albert of Monaco.
The trip was led by Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of Moscow, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), who praised the Prince for his kindness to the Jewish community.
The delegation discussed Monaco’s flourishing Jewish community as well as the many issues that are affecting Jews across Europe including the rise of anti-Semitic incidents, Islamic extremism and the rise of nationalism. Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt was accompanied on the visit by First Vice President Chief Rabbi Korsia of France, Associate President, Chief Rabbi Mirvis and the Rabbi of Monaco, Rabbi Torgmant.
Reflecting on the meeting, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt said: “Prince Albert has welcomed the Jewish community to Monaco and they are flourishing under his leadership. The Prince recognised the issues that the Jewish community is facing and has ensured that Monaco is a place where Jews and Judaism can flourish.”
The meeting was part of the Conference of European Rabbis Standing Committee meeting, currently taking place in Monaco. The Rabbis are being hosted at the new Edmond Safra Synagogue in Monaco and during the visit. Following recent elections in Austria and Germany, the Standing Committee meeting will allow the rabbis to assess the possible consequences for the Jewish communities involved. Sebastian Kurtz, the new Austrian President, has written to the CER in advance of the meeting and the talks will allow the rabbis to explore the future of the Jewish community and how it will be able to respond to growing Nationalism across Europe.
Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt said, “I have long described how European Jewry is stuck between the growing religious intolerance associated with Nationalism on the one hand and Islamic Extremism on the other. For many Nationalism has been a response to the terrorism related to religious extremism. But religious communities cannot be collateral damage. We need to find a way to protect religious communities who have prospered in Europe since the second World War. The meetings here in Monaco is a chance for us to reflect and take steps to ensure that our communities are able to flourish.”