2005-06-29

Judaism on Trial - Again

Just when you think you've seen it all. From Hillel Halkin in the New York Sun (subscription; hat tip: Steven B. via the Kesser Israel mailing list):
Russian State Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov, the front page of the Russian newspaper Izvestia reports, has decided to launch an official investigation of the Shulhan Arukh, the definitive compendium of Jewish law written in the 16th century by Rabbi Joseph Caro and used to this day - generally in an abbreviated version - as a standard reference book by Orthodox Jews.

Prosecutor Ustinov has already summoned Moscow rabbi Zinovy Kogan, chairman of the Congress of Jewish Organizations, for questioning in order to determine whether the Shulhan Arukh should be banned for "racist incitement." He took this action after receiving a letter last January, signed by 500 patriotic Russians, calling the Jewish religion "anti-Christian and inhumane" and demanding that the Shulhan Arukh be banned. ...

The article goes on to recall Pope Gregory IX, who in 1240 CE launched an investigation against the Talmud (the central text of Jewish learning), which resulted in the confiscation and burning of 24 cartloads of sacred Jewish books.

Halkin adds that the 500 Russian luminaries who signed the letter (among them chess champion Boris Spassky) are by no means alone - they are in the company of the leaders of the Anglican Church, which has singled out Israel as the target of its disinvstment campaign. (In these enlightened times, it is apparently OK to do business with Jews - just so long as the Jews don't live in their own country.)

Ah yes, European civilization.

UPDATE: The investigation has been dropped.