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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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Chief Rabbinate Backs Down, Accepts Rabbi Avi Weiss

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate has come to its sense before letting the damage get out of control.
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Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has reversed its stand and said it will accept letters from Rabbi Avi Weiss confirming the Judaism of those who wish to wed in the country.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Weiss’ attorney in Israel, Assaf Ben-Melech, the Chief Rabbinate affirmed its position on the liberal Orthodox rabbi from New York.

In October, the Chief Rabbinate rejected a letter from Rabbi Weiss vouching for immigrants who wanted to marry in Israel pending an investigation into his adherence to traditional Jewish law. The move sparked widespread outrage that Rabbi Weiss, a longtime synagogue leader in New York who had vouched for the Jewishness of many Israeli immigrants in the past, was suddenly having his reliability called into question.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s religious services minister and Diaspora Affairs minister, has been meeting since November with officials from the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America and the Chief Rabbinate to resolve the issue.

He reportedly sees the issue as one of prime importance based on the potential negative impact it could have on Israel-Diaspora relations.

Weiss founded the liberal Orthodox rabbinical seminary Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and has pioneered a number of controversial innovations in the Orthodox world, most recently his decision to ordain women as clergy through a new seminary called Yeshivat Maharat.

“I appreciate that this injustice has been corrected and am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support I received from all over the world,” Weiss said in a statement. “I also urge the Chief Rabbinate to reflect on how it can help us reach out, respect and acknowledge all Jews in the Diaspora.”

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3 Responses to “Chief Rabbinate Backs Down, Accepts Rabbi Avi Weiss”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another nail in the coffin. Next he'll approve same-gender marriages. We need Mashiach now! I'm a diaspora Jew, and I don't guys like him reaching out to me!

  2. Doris Jaffe says:

    It's about time the ICR came to its senses and accepts Rabbi Avi Weiss' credentials. He is a breath of fresh air in Modern Orthodoxy fighting for social justice. Kol HaKavod to Rabbi Weiss for all he had one, is doing, and will continue to do on behalf of Klal Yisroel.

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