The Chief Rabbinate of Israel recently made headlines for the wrong reasons once again. Until a recent agreement was reached, it had refused to accept letters from Rabbi Avi Weiss and other American Orthodox rabbis attesting to the Jewishness of congregants seeking to wed in Israel. As a result, numerous organizations and prominent individuals, in Israel and the U.S., each with a plan to reform, weaken, improve, or dismantle the Rabbanut (Chief Rabbinate), stood up for Rabbi Weiss and called on the Rabbanut to accept him. Ultimately, the Rabbanut agreed to accept Rabbi Weiss’ testimony and also to accept automatically any letter of testimony that has been approved by the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest association of Orthodox rabbis in the world.
Rabbi Avi Weiss not only diaspora rabbi Israel rejected; why isn't the RCA speaking out?
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Natan Sharansky, the iconic hero of the Soviet Jewry movement and chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, this week characterized the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s questioning of Rabbi Avi Weiss’s rabbinic credentials as “absurd.”
Ironically, the victory by the haredi candidates in last week’s once-a-decade election of the two chief rabbis in Israel may, in the long run, lead to a more liberal and open approach to religious life in the Jewish state.
In a stunning video shown at his recent official retirement dinner, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks received high praise from four British prime ministers, three archbishops of Canterbury, and one Roman Catholic archbishop. (You can see it at http://bit.ly/19v5LwL).
With the once-a-decade election of Israel’s two chief rabbis scheduled for July 24, Rabbi David Stav, the 53-year-old Religious Zionist candidate for the Ashkenazi post who is attempting to end the two-decade-long reign of the fervently Orthodox, has already achieved a significant victory. Through his long and very public campaign this year he has shed light on a process that has long been kept in the shadows, understandably, because it is ugly, nasty and an embarrassment to Judaism.
The inclusive David Stav, once a long shot for chief rabbi, seeks changes in haredi stronghold.
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A few months ago Rabbi David Stav, the 53-year-old founder and president of Tzohar, a rabbinic organization that strives to make the face of traditional Judaism more appealing to Israelis, was seen as the Don Quixote candidate in the upcoming national Chief Rabbinate election, held once a decade.