An open letter from Aleksander Opoczyński, the Treasurer of the Jewish Religious Community in Krakow to Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland
The Very Reverend Rabbi,
I presume that if you had known the details of the case, you would not have written such an emotional letter. The explanation of the Management Board of the Jewish Religious Community in Krakow, of which I am the Treasurer, clarifies all doubts. You would have always been welcome in our Community and you would have certainly been informed about the case along with all the details you are interested in. Unfortunately, during your frequent visits to Krakow, you did not manage to find time to cross the street and visit us despite the fact that you are the rabbi of all the Jewish Communities in Poland, elected by the Board of Jewish Religious Communities, of which the Jewish Religious Community in Krakow is a part.
I would like to underline the fact that financing private foundations such as Chabad Lubavitch Krakow Foundation is not included in the statutory duties of the Jewish Religious Community in Krakow. The above foundation, for a long time, has not paid for utilities and for the non-contractual use of occupied premises and, therefore, the amount of “support” by the Jewish Religious Community has exceeded, at present, the amount of PLN 300,000. It is worth underlining that it is the amount of about PLN 30,000 for the electricity alone. Trying to avoid further losses of the Jewish Religious Community and also not wanting to be accused of mismanagement, the Management Board of the Jewish Religious Community, after repeated calls for payment, decided to disconnect the electricity. The Foundation reacted by connecting an external power generator.
Such proceedings pose a serious fire hazard and forced the Management Board of the Jewish Religious Community to undertake necessary actions. Meanwhile, it turned out that the Foundation had broken the safety seals and replaced the fuses with almost twice as powerful (without replacing the old installation). Therefore, we think it is better to receive a letter from you regarding the restoration of the Synagogue by the Community than regarding the fire of the Synagogue.
I would also like address the slanders that are published in numerous Facebook posts. The Management Board of the Jewish Religious Community in Krakow, including its Chairman, Tadeusz Jakubowicz, fulfil their functions pro bono. All the members have their own sources of income and do not need to hold positions in Jewish organisations to this end. Perhaps this is not a regular practice but it is so in Krakow. We do not charge fees for weddings, funerals, Sabbath suppers or daily dinners in the kosher canteen.
For the last 10 years, the Synagogue of Isaak has been extensively exploited and it has not been renovated by the tenant at all. Should we continue to passively observe the mould growing, the trees beginning to grow on the stone steps leading to the narthex and falling stones threatening the passer-by’s safety? The Jewish Religious Community has received State subsidy for the renovation and drying of the Synagogue this year, and the planned renovation will start in a few days (as agreed with the Heritage Monuments Protection Office). After the renovation is completed, the Synagogue will be open to all the people and not just one rite.
Additionally, I would also like you to have a look at the enclosed photographs depicting the current condition of the Synagogue of Isaak.
(more photos can be found on http://krakow.jewish.org.pl/galeria/ )