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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Knesset Bill to Cut Number of Chief Rabbis by 50%


Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (L) with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Baruch Lau during the Swearing-in ceremony of the Rabbinate Council at the president's residence in Jerusalem, in 2013. Does anyone in America feel the need for a chief rabbi? Then why should Israelis have to endure two, or even just one of them?

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (L) with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Baruch Lau during the Swearing-in ceremony of the Rabbinate Council at the president's residence in Jerusalem, in 2013. Does anyone in America feel the need for a chief rabbi? Then why should Israelis have to endure two, or even just one of them?
Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

No, actually, we must rid ourselves of state controlled spiritual services and bring our individual communities together, separately and happily. In a country that centralizes everything, from education to health to police to courts, at least let the people have their own local religious leader.

Incidentally, the new law would also make the rabbinical courts independent of the office of the chief rabbinate, rather than the current situation in which the two chief rabbis alternate serving as the head of the Rabbinate Council and as chief religious court judge, of the Higher Rabbinical Court.

Now take one additional step and let those rabbinical courts be formed and assembled wherever they’re needed, rather than by government fiat. Stop centralizing the Jewish State.

JTA content was used in this report.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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11 Responses to “Knesset Bill to Cut Number of Chief Rabbis by 50%”

  1. Why didn’t this guy write this while HaRav Ovadia ztl was alive. Answer: He would have gotten blasted for these comments. Why don’t we do away with that shabby government if you’re going to throw out the chief rabbinet.

  2. I agree with you Aharon! But the Rabbis will remain always, they are the essentials in our culture!

  3. Moishe Pupik says:

    Whenever we had chief rabbis, they were always appointed by the Soviet government, or the Keiser, they were never part of the people. If Israel wants to live according to the Torah, they should adopt Torah law, not Torah clerks.

  4. One step closer to return Sanhedrin

  5. Violet Helms says:

    It can never be forgotten that this is a Jewish Nation. Rabbis are essential.As much as the Worl would like it to be a secular country and thus “Less Jewish”, that should never happen.

  6. Yechiel Baum says:

    if the chief rabbi does not order all able men to serve in the army, then they are useless as it shows the world they have self serving.

  7. Moshe Pupic, you are mistaken. In Europe, every town had a Chief Rabbi who was picked by the people.
    The writer uses very strong, repugnant words describing rabbis. Even if he is not Observant, these are men who are very learned and for the most part earned more respect than the writer gives them.

  8. Moishe Pupik says:

    We are not in Europe. We are in a free country, where every Jew is free to define his or her faith and not be indoctrinated, especially not by Haredi rabbis who have nothing in common with him. And I am very much observant. I mean, look at my picture, for heaven's sake.

  9. Dan Silagi says:

    First: The Knesset has absolutely no right being in the rabbi business at all. Second, Israel needs a chief rabbi like Silky Pitterman needs a second head.

  10. Moishe Pupik says:

    Judaism is not a tradition of rabbis, it's a tradition of God loving people who dedicate themselves to following the commandments. When we need guidance, we turn to the rabbi of our choosing. That hardly justifies two offices and gigantic staffs and millions of dollars. A phone call takes care of it. maybe a Skype.

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