Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt (born 21 July 1963, Zurich) since 1993 the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Russia, has been elected in 2011 to become the President of the Conference of European since 1993.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is the spiritual leader of the Moscow Choral Synagogue, the head of the Rabbinical Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and is an officer of the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC).
Goldschmidt played a major role in founding and developing communal structures from colleges, day schools and kindergartens, soup kitchens and rabbinical schools, to political umbrella structures, such as the Russian Jewish Congressand the Congress of the Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations in Russia (CJROAR).
Goldschmidt represents the Russian Jewish community politically. He published op-eds in the international press pertaining to the issues of the day. He also addressed during the course of the years, the US Senate, the EU Parliament, The Council of Europe, The Israeli Knesset, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s – “Neeman Commission”, Oxford University, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Berlin Conference on anti-Semitism, and Harvard University, discussing the state of the Jewish Community, and the threats of anti-Semitism.
In January 2005, five hundred people, including newspaper editors, public intellectuals and 19 Duma deputies published an appeal to the Prosecutor General of Russia. The petitioners called for the closure of Jewish organized life in Russia. A subsequent television call-in show, during which 100,000 people phoned in, revealed that 54% of the participants supported the idea of banning all Jewish organizations in Russia. Goldschmidt wrote a detailed response to all the accusations and addressed the letter to Dmitriy Rogozin, leader of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, who, after receiving Goldschmidt’s letter, apologized and distanced himself from the petition.
Goldschmidt was deported from Russia during September 2005, and was allowed to return to his community after three month, only after an international campaign. He takes an active part in interfaith dialogue gatherings with Christians and Muslims in New York, Paris, Astana, Seville, Vienna and Moscow.
Goldschmidt besides his rabbinical ordination possesses an M.A. from Ner Israel Rabbinical College, as well as a M.S. from Johns Hopkins University. He also studied at Ponevezh Yeshiva, (1979-1981), Telshe Yeshiva, Chicago, Il (1981-1982), Shevet Umechokek Institute for Rabbinical Judges headed by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, (1985-1986) and Harry Fischel Institute for Rabbinical Judges, Jerusalem, Israel (1986-1987). He authored articles on issues of Jewish law regarding post-Soviet Jewry and has published a collection of responsas with a compilation of Russian Jewish names “Zikaron Basefer”, (Moscow 1996).
Rabbi Goldschmidt has been awarded Certification as candidate for the Position of Chief Rabbi in Israel or in one of the cities in Israel by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in the year 2002. Rabbi Goldschmidt is married and has seven children. In the spring of 2009, Goldschmidt was Visiting Scholar at the Davis Center in Harvard. Since July 2011, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi and Av Beit Din of Moscow, is the new president of the Conference of European Rabbis. Rabbi Goldschmidt was elected by the CER’s Standing Committee meeting in London and succeeds the former chief rabbi of France (1987-2009), Joseph Hayim Sitruk, who had held the post since 1999. Only the fourth president of the CER in its 54-year history, Rabbi Goldschmidt is the first to hold the post from outside Western Europe.