Allen S. Maller

Orthodox monopoly in Poland rejected by Polish court

In a historic expression of support for religious freedom in Poland, a Polish appeals court rejected the attempt of the Orthodox religious establishment to deregister three existing Progressive Jewish communities (and an additional five in formation) and impose a legal requirement that only the Orthodox establishment can approve any other Jewish group that is seeking to organize themselves as a religious community in Poland.

On October 14, 2014 a three member panel of the Polish Supreme Administrative Court instructed lower courts to reverse their decisions on technical issues that would have led to the deregistration of all Progressive Communities in Poland and abridged the right of Jews to independently organize, worship, and develop alternatives to the Orthodox monopoly.

Progressive Judaism in Poland is a continuation of the diverse non -Orthodox Jewish communities that formed as early as 1803 in Poland and numbered over forty synagogues and some 200,000 members before World War II.

One of the largest synagogues in all of Europe was a Reform congregation in Lodz.

Progressive Judaism in Poland historically expressed a diverse range of Jewish non-Orthodox views roughly equivalent to the Reform and Conservative movements in America.

In 2004 Beit Warszawa, the flagship community of Progressive Judaism in the post 1989 era was recognized by the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

In April, 2014 the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) with its 1.8 million members extended recognition to Beit Polska, (the umbrella organization for Progressive Judaism in Poland formed in 2009).

Piotr Stasiak, the chair of Beit Polska, expressed satisfaction in the legal outcome, as did the new President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Rabbi Daniel Freelander, Leslie Bergman, the president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) and Ms. Miriam Kramer, the chair of the EUPJ board.

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.