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Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland To Speak in Winnipeg October 31 and November 1

by Rhonda Spivak, October 7, 2017

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland To Speak in Winnipeg October 31-November 2, 2017

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, who has served as both Chief Rabbi of Poland since 2000 as well as the Rabbi of the historic Nozyk Synagogue in Warsaw since 2004, will be speaking in Winnipeg at the following two community events:  

November 1, 1:15 p.m. - Jewish Child & Family Services - Address to Holocaust Survivors, families and  general community, Etz Chaim Synagogue, 123 Matheson Ave., Everyone is welcome


October 31, 7:30 pm - Community-wide address, Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Synagogue 620 Brock St. Everyone is welcome. No admission charge


Rabbi Schudrich, who was born in New York, has recently supervised a project  protecting and preserving the mass graves at the Sobibor concentration camp in north-east Poland and is currently beginning to work on a project preserving and commemorating the mass graves at Treblinka.

Rabbi Shudrich , who worked for the Lauder Foundation, based in Warsaw from 1990-1998, has a specific interest in Kavod Hamet (honouring the dead).  This includes identifying and erection of a Matzevah (head stone)  at the Holocaust sites of execution, mass graves, cemeteries and concentration camps in Poland. To date, 52 previously unidentified sites have been identified and dedicated.  The Rabbi has a unique way of performing the cemetery dedication which he will share with the audience personally.


At the community events Rabbi Shudrich will also speak about the phenomenon of Poles who are re-discovering their Jewish roots. Early in his trips to Poland and Eastern Europe, Rabbi Schudrich was among the first to identify the existence of Poles, with historic Jewish roots, but whose parents and grand-parents hid the fact due to the trauma of the Holocaust and Communist sanctioned anti-semitism.  From 1945 until the fall of communism in 1989, Poland was a de facto arm of the Moscow based Soviet government. The 350,000 who survived the war or returned to Poland had two choices: leave the country or stay in Poland and stop practicing Judaism.  Everything changed in 1989 with the fall of communism and the arrival of democracy to Poland.  In the past 27 years since the arrival of democracy, these hidden Jews and their descendants have been emerging throughout the country and expressing an interest in reconnecting with the Jewish people.  


Organizations such as the JCC’s in Warsaw and Krakow, San Francisco and Poland based Taube Foundation, Joint distribution Committee (AJDC), , Shaavei Israel and Rabbi Schudrich’s Nozyk Synagogue have been standing by to welcome back the Poles with Jewish roots and who wish to learn about their faith.


Rabbi Shudrich studied at Stony Brook University and Columbia and received an MA in History. He received rabbinic ordination from both Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative), followed by ordination at Yeshiva University (Orthodox). He served as a Rabbi in Japan from 1983-1989.


 Rabbi Schudrich’s visit is generously sponsored by the Asper Foundation.  The following organizations have come together to bring this event to Winnipeggers: Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Synagogue, Jewish Child & Family Services, B'nai Brith Canada, Holocaust Education Committee, Jewish Historical Centre of Western Canada and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.