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In Poland, a rabbi is installed

October 22, 2006|Associated Press

WARSAW — Poland's first Progressive rabbi since World War II was installed Friday in a ceremony filled with lively music and solemn remembrance of those who perished in the Holocaust, community leaders said.

The arrival of Rabbi Burt Schuman, a New Yorker with Polish roots, represents another milestone in the revival here of the Jewish life Hitler nearly extinguished.

The Progressive movement is one of three major branches of Judaism, along with the Conservative and Orthodox. It is equivalent to the Reform movement in North America. The Progressive community's members said Schuman would help them revive the liberal, modern branch of Judaism that flourished alongside Orthodox Judaism in pre-Holocaust Poland.

"Tonight is the realization of a dream, of serving a community in my ancestral homeland," said Schuman, a charismatic and lively 58-year-old. "I think it's a tremendous watershed for the liberal movement. We are on the map in Poland."

Schuman was installed at Beit Warszawa, home to Warsaw's small Progressive community.

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