Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson
Rabbi Riskin speaking in Eftat.

(EFRAT- July 6, 2015) The Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin made his first public statements following a month-long ordeal where Israel’s Chief Rabbinate held up the extension of his rabbinic tenure.

Speaking at a reception of Efrat residents hosted by Mayor Oded Ravivi to mark the continued tenure, Rabbi Riskin stated that he was forced to “rely on reports in the media” regarding his standing, and that the Rabbinate never attempted to reach out to him directly to explain the reason for the unprecedented delay in extending his tenure. (Editor’s note: JewishPress.com was the first to report on the tenure extension crisis in English.)

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The ordeal began when the Chief Rabbinate decided not to automatically renew Rabbi Riskin’s post and instead chose to delay their decision as they examined the merit of extending his thirty-two year tenure as Efrat’s religious leader.

“The Rabbis didn’t speak with me at all,” said Rabbi Riskin. “From the moment they chose not to automatically extend my tenure, I didn’t receive any indication from any of the members of the Chief Rabbinate whether they intended to renew my position. Even the rumors that I was to be invited for some sort of hearing turned out to be false,” Rabbi Riskin continued.

Responding to claims that some of his Halachic rulings were deemed problematic by a few members of the Rabbinate, Rabi Riskin stated, “I am sure all of my decisions are based on accepted Halachic precedent. Even the rulings that some viewed as too far ‘outside the box’ are based on decisions by former Chief Rabbis. This is a debate about differing ideological paths.”

Rabbi Riskin also spoke about the Kashrut issue that has been publicly debated in recent days. The Rabbi reminded his audience that it is in the interest of the Rabbinate that Kosher food be readily available to as many Jews as possible.

“The Chief Rabbinate must ensure that Kosher food is accessible to all the Jews in Israel, and that it is done so at the lowest possible cost to the general public. It should be their highest priority that as many Jews as possible eat Kosher. This is not what is happening right now with the latest decisions. The Rabbinate should be opening its arms in acceptance and limiting divisiveness in Israeli society,” Rabbi Riskin concluded.

In his comments, Rabbi Riskin urged the Chief Rabbinate to dedicate itself to a more inclusive outlook on Israeli society and return to the vision for the institution set out by the original Chief Rabbi Kook which was intended to respond to the needs of all the Jewish citizens of Israel.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Rabbi Riskin is as brave as Maimonides was in his time, Baal Shem Tov in his time, who stood up for what is was and always will be right and did not buckle under when the shackles of control began to close in on development and changes.

  2. Since the demise of the Gaonim centered at Pumpadetha, Jews have been mostly at the mercy of mercenary rabbis in it for the money; today we sunk to the bottom of the pit, as the appointment of Chief Rabbis, 1 and 2 is purely political, The more shame the current incumbents have no sense of respect of themselves or for the Torah they use for a Job

  3. I Just taped a radio show called "The Disgruntled Millenial Podcast" hosted by Brett Segal. The format was "no holds barred" and I spoke my mind. He has an international audience and this program was taped ; I will let you know the link to the podcast when it comes out.

    Special thanks to Maria Del Pilar Reyes Lopes for making the connection.

    The liberal establishment is winning. There are very few religious leaders speaking out and saying it as it is. The Jewish establishment is basically liberal. Please , if you believe in what I have to say, spread the message and ask other radio and tv stations to contact me. I am controversial and will always speak my mind.

    It was a pleasure being on his radio show. He was an excellent radio host.

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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