web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


New Knesset ‘Tzohar Law’ to Curtail Chief Rabbinate’s Control on Weddings Passes First Reading


Newlywed couple Harel and Talya David under the Chupa in Karnei Shomron in Judea and Samaria. The new "Tzohar Law" will empower couples to seek officiating by non-Haredi rabbis.

Newlywed couple Harel and Talya David under the Chupa in Karnei Shomron in Judea and Samaria.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Israel Beiteinu’s MK Faina Kirshenbaum’s “Tzohar Law” passed its first reading yesterday in the Knesset by a majority of 25 to 8.

The new law will end the obligation of Jewish couples to be wedded only by the rabbi of their locale, and will permit them to choose any recognized Orthodox rabbi in the country to perform their marriage.

According to Israel Beiteinu, the purpose of the new law is “to mitigate the difficulties often associated with couples being beholden to the rabbis of their hometown.”

The law also gives a new lease on life to the moderate Orthodox organization Tzohar, which provides a  more accommodating wedding experience for non-religious couples, and which has been under threat from more right wing elements associated with the chief rabbinate, which sought complete control over marriage fees.

The bill now must go through committee and then be approved by the house.

Tzohar Chairman Rabbi David Stav told the Jewish Press that despite its popular nickname, the new law is not directly connected to his organization. “It’s true that we are pleased with this law, but it’s not essentially about Tzohar but rather intends to make life easier for secular Israelis who are trapped in the maze of bureaucracy.”

Rabbi Stav explained that Tzohar rabbis have been decrying for many years the chief rabbinate bureaucracy which prevents young couples from marrying according to “the laws of Moses and Israel,” pushing them instead to seek civil marriages in nearby Cyprus.

I asked Rabbi David Stav about the notion that Tzohar rabbis employ less stringent standards regarding conversions. He disagreed with the entire proposition.

“We recognize only those conversions which the chief rabbinate recognizes,” he stated. “We do not accept conversions which the chief rabbinate has rejected.”

The problem is, Stav says, that local rabbis in various municipalities, who are paid by the state as civil servants, refuse to recognize the legitimacy of conversions which have been approved by the chief rabbinate.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Jews who must be married in their locale according to the old law, but their local rabbinate would not permit them to get married because that rabbinate does not recognize some chief rabbinate conversions,” he said.

“We are delighted that the Knesset has discovered yesterday what we’ve known for a very long time,” he added. “The majority of Israel’s public wants a halachic wedding, but is asking not to be encumbered with needless obstacles.”

Rabbi Stav emphasized that all the rabbis associated with Tzohar who conduct marriage ceremonies received their ordination from the chief rabbinate and operate within strict halachic guidelines.

“In the Tzohar rabbis’ approach to marriages there isn’t even a smidgen of levity or allowance for shortcuts,” he stressed. “There is no halachic disagreement here whatsoever. The differences are in our more personal approach. We view our role as a holy mission, to bring the secular Israeli society closer to the institution of halachic marriages.”

Rabbi Stav criticized voices in the Lithuanian yeshiva world which warned that Tzohar rabbis would be lighter on halachic requirements, saying there was no basis in reality for such allegations.

“The big change ushered by this law is in regard to registration for marriage,” said Rabbi Chaim Navon, a congregation Rav in Modiin and member of the Tzohar organization, who also spoke to the Jewish Press about the new bill.

“Even before a couple chooses which rabbi would officiate at their wedding, they must register to marry at the Rabbinate office in their home town. To date, that same rabbinate also has the power to approve or disqualify the officiating rabbi. The new law will allow the couple to register anywhere they want in the country.”

This means that if their local rabbinate is too strict in the couple’s opinion, they are free to register elsewhere.

Rabbinic strictness, said Navon, is expressed in the local office’s views on standards of giurim (Jewish conversions), as well as on which Orthodox rabbis are acceptable to conduct the chupa ceremony.

“The bill received the nickname ‘Tzohar Law’ because some rabbinate offices around the country have been preventing rabbis affiliated with Tzohar from conducting marriages.”

The new law still maintains the complete adherence to Jewish Halacha of the officiating rabbis.

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.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “New Knesset ‘Tzohar Law’ to Curtail Chief Rabbinate’s Control on Weddings Passes First Reading”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
ISIS/Daesh seized control of the Syrian border town of Quneitra temporarily towards the end of August 2014.
ISIS Threatens to Kill Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey and Employees
Latest News Stories
ISIS/Daesh seized control of the Syrian border town of Quneitra temporarily towards the end of August 2014.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is threatening to kill the founder of Twitter and his employees because they are blocking tweets from Daesh, known also as ISIS.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Dec. 30, 2014.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power tells AIPAC on Monday that America “will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Period.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the AIPAC Policy Conference, Washington DC, on March 2, 2015.

“Today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. Tomorrow, as prime minister of the only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with US Senator Lindsey Graham in Jerusalem.

Former Consul Alon Pinkas charges Prime Minister Netanyahu is “injecting Israel into the American political arena – he loves doing that.”

Former Israel Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold says PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress “will have substance no one has heard before.”

Want to know who are the Bibicotters and how you can tell them what you think?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a packed room at AIPAC on Monday the US-Israel alliance is “sound.” But on Iran: “No one makes alliances with the weak,” he warned.

IDF soldiers, reservists and local security units participated in a massive training drill in the town of Efrat, Gush Etzion, reenacting an infiltration of terrorists into the settlement, on March 02, 2015. The IDF’s central command called a surprise training exercise in the West Bank to test reservists’ alertness and to prepare for the possibility […]

I’m not going to get into timetables. It will happen.

American like Netanyahu by a 2-1 margin, with Obama probably in the minority.

Girls, ages 10-13, from Efrat in Gush Etzion will square off against girls from the Galilee Arab village Sakhnin tonight in a playoff game that will determine which group will advance to the semi-finals in the girls’ league. “We are involved with soccer and not politics,” one of the Efrat girls said. “We really want […]

Jew Wars: Episode 7 – Revenge of the White House

The suspect denied he knew he was sending Hamas material that could be used to kill him and his neighbors.

The PA plans to destroy Israeli products found in Arab-owned stores, but the Arab population will probably just buy them from Rami Levy instead.

He told CNN ‘God gave the US military power” that should be used to stop genocide.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-knesset-tzohar-law-to-curtail-chief-rabbinates-control-on-weddings-passes-first-reading/2012/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: