2024 Charlemagne Prize to Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt

Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the European Rabbinical Conference, will receive the 2024 Charlemagne Prize. Jewish communities in Europe will be honored along with it, the International Charlemagne Prize directorate in Aachen announced Friday. The award should send the message that Jewish life inherently belongs to Europe and that there should be no place for antisemitism in Europe.

Since the radical Islamist Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, the number of anti-Semitic crimes has increased rapidly in many European countries.

According to the Charlemagne Prize Directorate, Goldschmidt always argued that people from a wide range of religious and cultural backgrounds should find their place in Europe. Born in Zurich in 1963, Goldschmidt received rabbinical training and went first to Israel and then to the Soviet Union to rebuild Jewish life after the end of communism. He was elected Chief Rabbi of Moscow in 1993. Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, he resisted calls to support the war and left Moscow in March 2022. Since 2011, Goldschmidt has been president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), which moved from London to Munich last year.

Goldschmidt’s commitment to interfaith dialogue attracted particular attention. In 2015, he co-founded the European Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council (MJLC), which includes both Jewish and Muslim dignitaries. According to the Charlemagne Prize Directorate, Jewish-Christian dialogue also received significant encouragement from Goldschmidt. While he has been in direct contact with Pope Francis for years, he most recently met with the Head of the Catholic Church in November 2023 to discuss the current situation in the Middle East.

The “International Charlemagne Prize in Aachen” has been awarded since 1950 for special contributions to the unification of Europe. Citizens of Aachen donated the prize shortly after World War II, at the suggestion of entrepreneur Kurt Pfeiffer. The prize is named after Emperor Charlemagne, whose Frankish Empire expanded across much of Western Europe in the early Middle Ages.

The winner of the first prize in 1950 was Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, the founder of the Pan-European idea. With Italian Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi (1952), German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1954) and Sir Winston Churchill (1955), the award gained great reputation in Europe within a few years. Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was honored.


Source: Vienna


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