Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
RABBINATE AND RABBI AVI WEISS
Reversing its earlier stance, the Chief Rabbinate has formally decided that testimony from prominent US rabbi Avi Weiss regarding individuals’ status as Jews will be accepted by the Israeli body.
The Jerusalem Post has learned that in recent days Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett became personally involved in the issue and spoke to the relevant parties to help bring about the resolution.
In a letter dated January 15 to Weiss’s lawyer, the Chief Rabbinate’s legal adviser wrote that after an internal meeting and “further clarifications on the matter,” the rabbinate reached an agreement to accept Weiss’s testimony on Jewish and personal status.
By Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch
The core of the problem is not this or that bureaucrat who disqualifies this or that Orthodox rabbi from determining who is a Jew.
The real problem is the Chief Rabbinate itself. It is foreign to Judaism. For most of Jewish history we never had chief rabbis. We are too contentious a people to have a “chief” over us. Judaism’s essential religious pluralism has been the source of our enormous vitality and a central reason for our longevity.
By Rabbi Yamin Levy
I, too, am one of those American rabbis whose conversions are not accepted by the Rabbanut, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.
Truth be told, I am not at all offended by this and do not regard it as an affront to my Orthodox observance. In fact I have always had a very strong relationship with the Sephardic Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
Orthodox Rabbi Seth Farber, founder of the ITIM, an Israeli organization that guides couples through the Chief Rabbinate's bureaucracy, welcomed the rabbinate's decision, but noted that "it doesn't address the rabbinate's systematic problem – the lack of a clear policy for approving rabbis and Orthodox communities in the United States."
See also same article: http://www.timesofisrael.com/
By Rabbi Micah Peltz
Thus, the solution to this dilemma is not, as some in the Orthodox community maintain, implementing a better system to evaluate the credentials of Orthodox rabbis in the Diaspora. Rather, the solution lies in advocating for a more inclusive rabbinate in Israel altogether.
By Rabbi Steven A. Fox
It was inevitable. Once they came after Reform, Conservative and other progressive Jews, it was only a matter of time until the Chief Rabbinate turned on other Orthodox Jews.
Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, president of the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly, pointed out that “the chief rabbis are treating Orthodox rabbis the way they have been treating non-Orthodox rabbis for ever and ever,” with a lack of respect and an air of illegitimacy.
This incident is yet another reminder of the dire need to relieve the Chief Rabbinate of its monopolistic powers over divisive matters such as “Who is a Jew?” and “Who is a rabbi?”
The decision whether to recognize someone as a rabbi or as a Jew is best left to private individuals.
The time has come for a more inclusive religious policy that recognizes all streams of Judaism equally. Orthodox and non-Orthodox streams view themselves as belonging to the Jewish people and the State of Israel should recognize them as such.
Dismantling the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly would be a boon to Orthodoxy.
AUDIO: Rabbi Avi Weiss and the Chief Rabbinate: Seth Farber, ITIM; Asher Lopatin, YCT; Reuven Tradburks, RCA
See also: http://www.timesofisrael.com//
By Anat Hoffman
With our foot firmly in the door, we will fight to extend this recognition by the state to neighborhood rabbis in Israel. We will continue to fight for personal freedoms of marriage, divorce, and conversion. We will continue to prevent the exclusion of women in the public sphere, and we will continue to run campaigns against racist incitement by state-employed rabbis.
IDF/IDF RABBINATE/HAREDIM AND THE IDF
ALIYAH/ LAW OF RETURN/ISRAEL-DIASPORA RELATIONS
see also: http://www.themedialine.org/
TEMPLE MOUNT/WESTERN WALL/CITY OF DAVID
Jerusalem Chareidi Councilman Battles to Protect Rights of Lomdei Torah http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/
BEIT SHEMESH MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
RELIGION AND SOCIETY
She spent ten years in Israel, but never immigrated. Now Ruchama King Feuerman has written her second novel set in the Holy Land, and shows us how an oscillating identity can become a source of the most inspiring art.
WOMEN AND ORTHODOX FEMINISM
Rabbanit Malke Bina is founder and chancellor of "Matan", a revolutionary women's learning center in Israel.
Bina was one of the first educators in Israel to teach female students Talmud and Halacha, imbuing them with Zionism and a love for Torah learning.
Bina helped revolutionize Israeli society's views on women's status and top level Jewish studies for women. As a result tens of thousands of women have been trained to become scholars and leaders in their communities.
RABBI YOSHIYAHU PINTO CASE
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.All rights reserved.