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Friday, October 24, 2014 - 30 Tishrei 5775
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NZ Shchita Ban, 1st after Nazi Germany
The heads of the Jewish communities in Auckland and Wellington are now calling on people to write to the New Zealand Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture about the ban on shechitah (Jewish ritual slaughter of animals), that took effect some months ago.

They believe that the lack of availability of kosher meat and chicken in NZ could well be the beginning of the end for the Jewish community in the country.

In a statement under the heading, “Save the future of Judaism in New Zealand”, Auckland Hebrew Congregation President Garth Cohen and Claire Massey, the Chair of the Wellington Jewish Community Centre, plead to all in the general Jewish community to help them.

"The prospect of a permanent ban on shechita, resulting in no more kosher meat in New Zealand is very real," the begin.

"New Zealand recently became the first country in the world to outlaw kosher slaughter since the Nazis enacted similar legislation in Europe over 70 years ago. New Zealand Jews may soon be the only Jews in the world who can no longer eat chicken. Your children or grandchildren may never experience a Passover with chicken soup and matzah balls, or ask the meaning of the lamb shank on your family’s Seder plate.

"Some kosher meat (but not chicken) may be able to be imported, for a limited period. It is likely however that if we lose the right to practise shechita, then the ability to import kosher meat will soon follow.

"The absence of kosher meat will mean we can’t engage Rabbis or Youth Leaders. It will mean our religious families will be forced to leave New Zealand. Few Jews will want to migrate here. We will be seen as a country where Jews are not welcome, and where our traditions and beliefs are not respected or valued. Our rich New Zealand Jewish history and culture, dating back over 170 years to the earliest days of New Zealand settlement, may soon become a distant memory.

"The leaders of the Jewish communities in New Zealand feel so strongly about this that they are going to Court to challenge the Government. From a legal perspective they have a good deal of confidence, but only in the Court can the issue be determined.

We need the support of every Jew in New Zealand. Whether you keep kosher, observe Shabbat, or not, we must stand together. Your religious, cultural and social future is under threat.

"What you can do to help?

"Make a donation: Everyone can help and for the continuity of your family, your friends and your community you must help. We want every household to donate $150. We want you to ask your friends and families if they have given yet. We need your help and we need to help each other.

"Please make your donation now to the following account: New Zealand Shechita Appeal, Account Number: 01-0297-0024731-27 (use your family name and initials as a reference), or post your cheque to the Wellington or Auckland shul offices (marked “Shechita Appeal”)."

Australian Chabad activist Mr. Emanuel Althaus circulated the urgent request to his regular mailing list, saying, "As a general rule, I do not post appeals, however in this instance where our brothers and sisters across the Tasman Sea, in New Zealand, are facing a horrendous situation in that Shechita may be banned by law, an exception is in order."

Fearing that discriminatory laws like these may leak into other countries, he writes, "New Zealand Jewry may very well be the proverbial 'canaries down the mine shaft' and should G-d forbid, the appeal lodged by New Zealand Jewry fail, any attempts to introduce similar laws here in Australia will without doubt refer to the New Zealand experience, with possible/probable dire consequences for us here in Australia.

"This is our battle no less than theirs."
 
 

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