The wrong way to do Yom Kippur
THIS YEAR’S Yom Kippur ceremony in Krakow’s main synagogue turned out to be a very different occasion to what had been intended.
When the Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Eliezer Gur-Ari, turned down a request from a senior member of the congregation to lead a prayer, an ugly verbal brawl erupted.
Following the dispute, the community’s leaders sent a letter to Rabbi Gur-Ari, demanding that he allow some senior members to lead the prayers during the Holy Day.
Rabbi Gur-Ari refused to co-operate and decided to lead a separate prayer in another synagogue in Krakow with other members of the community.
In response, a day after Yom Kippur, the community leaders decided to dismiss him.
Sources say that in their letter to Rabbi Gur-Ari, the community leaders wrote: “If anyone opposes the directive stating that the community officials are allowed lead the prayers, we reserve the right to take him out of the synagogue, including force.”
Recent years have seen a bitter conflict within the Jewish community in Krakow. The local leaders appointed Rabbi Gur-Ari as the town’s chief rabbi, against the wishes of Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, who decided to appoint another rabbi, Avi Baumol, as his representative in the city.
Chabad Rabbi Gur-Ari has lived in Krakow for nine years with his wife and four children.