Iceland Adds Judaism to List of State-recognized Religions

Now Icelandic Jews may register themselves and their children as belonging to the country's Jewish community

JTA
Cnaan Liphshiz
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An aerial view of Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland.
An aerial view of Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland.Credit: Boyloso / Shutterstock
JTA
Cnaan Liphshiz

The Interior Ministry of Iceland has added Judaism to its list of state-recognized religious and life-stance groups.

The move earlier this year means that Icelandic Jews may register themselves and their children as belonging to the country’s Jewish community, Chabad.org reported Thursday.

Organizations recognized by the state as representing a community may benefit from Iceland’s church tax, which the government collects from each person older than 16. It’s about $100 annually. Iceland has about 200 Jews.

The country has about 50 recognized religious groups. Church tax collected from those who are not registered as belonging to one of those groups goes toward the promotion of higher education and science.

“When we moved to Iceland, we knew that recognition was important to our community, and we were determined to make it happen,” Rabbi Avi Feldman, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Iceland, told Chabad.org. “This is a story decades in the making.”

Feldman and his wife, Mushky, moved to Iceland in 2018.

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