Latest update: February 12th, 2013
Rabbi Soloveitchik considers this project an opportunity to bolster Torah Education. He suggests that a successful religious banking system would forge a practical, interesting and challenging horizon for students with appropriate skills for both economics and a Shulchan Aruch based economy.
The Jewish Banking group is attempting to create political pressure in favor of adopting the Zaken Committee report recommending the establishment of credit unions, which would become the legal foundation for kosher banks.
Rabbi Shai Siminovsky and Rabbi Kobi Yakir from the Chomesh Institute for Jewish Strategy insisted that the Torah is not just a set of principles for the individual, commanding them to observe Shabbat and Shmita, borrow without interest and eat kosher, but, first and foremost, it provides directions on managing a society and leading a nation.
The scholars at Chomesh work to clarify the public laws, and to create meetings between professionals from various areas and Torah scholars, in an annual conference held in the city of Ramla.
At the Ramla Conference, a mutual discourse takes place among Torah scholars, professionals and practitioners. A previous conference dealt with non-Jews living Israel. This year the conference will explore Israel’s legal system.
Rabbi Kobi Yakir proposed the establishment of a Jewish Academy, to deal with real-time questions and provide a Halachic answer which would be conceived by scholars and professionals working together.
Rabbi Itai Elitzur reviewed the efforts being made to reestablish the Temple and its service, and to bring the nation of Israel closer to a time in which God will reside in His holy place.
Rabbi Yitzhak Brand spoke about the need to anchor civil regulatory legislation in Halacha, based on the commandment to do that which is right and good in the eyes of God (Deut. 6:18). To that end, he called for the establishment of a general court to issue these regulations.
“In every generation, our sages issued regulations to match the Torah’s guidance with a changing reality. Only in our generation are we stuck with our anxiety and our fear of innovation,” Brand stated, adding: “We are not looking for ways to circumvent the Torah, but rather for finding in the Torah solutions to repair the ills of modern life.”
The conference ended with a decision to establish a general umbrella federation of all the organizations who wish to promote leadership by the Torah, creating cross-fertilization and mutual support.
The new federation will issue publications and policy papers, and will be in touch with members of Knesset to promote legislative proposals.
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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