Goldschmidt, who was born in Zurich, Switzerland, has been the Chief Rabbi of Moscow since 1993. He is the spiritual leader of the central synagogue of Moscow, and heads the rabbinical court of the CIS. In 1990 he created the guidelines in conjunction with the Israeli Ministry of Interior to reconfirm Jews who have hidden their Jewish identity during Soviet times.
Goldschmidt played a major role in founding and developing communal structures from colleges, day schools and kindergartens, soup kitchens and rabbinical schools, to political umbrella structures, such as the Russian Jewish Congress and the Congress of the Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations in Russia (CJROAR).
Goldschmidt represents the Russian Jewish community politically. He published opeds in the international press pertaining to the issues of the day. He has also addressed the US Senate, the EU Parliament, The Council of Europe, and The Israeli Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Neem an Commission“, Oxford University, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Berlin Conference on anti-Semitism, and Harvard University, discussing the state of the Jewish Community, and the threats of anti-Semitism.
In January 2005, five hundred people, including newspaper editors, public intellectuals and 19 Duma deputies published an appeal to the Prosecutor General of Russia. The petitioners called for the closure of Jewish organized life in Russia. A subsequent television call-in show, during which 100,000 people phoned in, revealed that 54% of the participants supported the idea of banning all Jewish organizations in Russia. Goldschmidt wrote a detailed response to all the accusations and addressed the letter to Dmitriy Rogozin, leader of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, who, after receiving Goldschmidt’s letter, apologized and distanced himself from the petition. Goldschmidt was deported from Russia during September 2005, and was allowed to return to his community after three months, only after an international campaign.
In 2010 by special order of Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, he was made a citizen of Russia. He takes an active part in interfaith dialogue gatherings with Chris-tians and Muslims in New York, Paris, Astana, Seville, Vienna and Moscow.
He also leads the Conference of European Rabbis, the rabbinical umbrella group of Europe (uniting four hundred rabbis from Dublin to Khabarovsk) as the chairman of the Standing Committee. Goldschmidt besides his rabbinical ordination possesses an MA from Ner Israel Rabbinical College, as well as a MS from Johns Hopkins University.
He also studied at Ponevezh Yeshiva, (1979–1981), Telshe Yeshiva, Chicago, Il(1981– 1982), Shevet Umechokek Institute for Rabbinical Judges headed by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, (1985–1986) and Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research, Jerusalem, Israel (1986–1987). He authored articles on issues of Jewish law regarding post-Soviet Jewry and has published a collection of respons as with a compilation of Russian Jewish names “Zikaron Basefer”, (Moscow 1996).
Rabbi Goldschmidt has been awarded Certification as candidate for the Position of Chief Rabbi in Israel or in one of the cities in Israel by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in the year 2002. Rabbi Goldschmidt is married and has seven children.
In the spring of 2009, Goldschmidt was visiting Scholar at the Davis Center in
Harvard. Since July 2011, Goldschmidt is the new president of the Conference of European Rabbis. He was elected by the CER’s Standing Committee meeting in London and succeeds the former Chief Rabbi of France (1987–2009), Joseph Sitruk, who had held the post since 1999. Only the fourth president of the CER in its 54-year history, Rabbi Goldschmidt is the first to hold the post from outside Western Europe.
On July 27, 2016 the Government of the French Republic awarded to Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt the title of Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor for his paramount contribution to the strengthening of relations between Russia and France.