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First rabbis graduate from Polish college

From the Daily Telegraph

First rabbis graduate from Polish college

Nine rabbis have become the first to graduate in Poland since the Nazis all but annihilated its more than three million strong Jewish community sixty five years ago.

The nine, from America and Israel, received diplomas in what the Warsaw's Rabbinical College head, Rabbi Szalom Ber Stambler described as a "ceremony of historic proportions".

"For centuries, Poland had been a world centre of Jewish studies laying down the code of proper Jewish conduct," he said.

The college is part of what is frequently described as a renaissance of Jewish life in Poland, where Jewish bookstores, exhibitions and restaurants are flourishing and festivals are subsidised by the government.

So far, however, that renaissance has occurred largely without Jews, who number only a few thousand in modern Poland. It is hoped that the ceremony will see Warsaw regain its historic reputation in the Jewish world.

"Warsaw had always been a centre of Jewish culture, to which Jews from all over the world travelled to partake of the wisdom of the Torah," said Jakub Kruglak, one of the new rabbis.

Meanwhile in Germany, the Catholic church is also being forced to recruit from abroad. Faced with ever dwindling numbers of priests, a diocese in the north of the country is flying in 12 priests from Kerala in India.

Religious outsourcing has been a staple tactic of the German church for years, with Belgian and Polish priests usually brought in to beef up numbers as ordinations falter.

But now the church is being forced to go further afield, paying for flights and language lessons for its Indian newcomers, who will work as curates for three years before preaching to flocks in their own parishes.