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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘david lau’

‘No Intention’ to Dismiss Efrat’s Rabbi Riskin, Says Israel Chief Rabbi Lau

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Israelis from the bottom to the top – storekeepers to government ministers and agency heads – have come out to protect Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s tenure.

Israel Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau told journalists on Wednesday there was “no intention to dismiss Rabbi Riskin. While dealing with this issue we have been hearing statements attributed to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel that are inappropriate and inaccurate.

“It troubles me to see that this matter regarding Rabbi Riskin continues to be blown so far out of proportion,” Rabbi Lau told Israel’s Channel 10 News.

The story began two weeks ago, when the issue of tenure for local rabbis was raised at a meeting of the Chief Rabbinical Council. At that time, there was a request to extend the term of office for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. The rabbi is one of the founders of the city in which he serves and lives, located in Gush Etzion, just 10 minutes away from Jerusalem.

Normally the process is pro forma, but apparently there were some on the Council who had reservations about extending Riskin’s tenure due to his views on conversion and a few other issues.

Those issues were reportedly raised at the meeting.

Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern, who joined the Council several months ago, was one of those who supported the extension of Riskin’s term. He asked the Council to postpone any decision on the matter, and it was decided to first invite the Efrat rabbi for a discussion prior to any final move.

News of what went on in the meeting was leaked to the media, however, and a brouhaha resulted.

Education Minister Naftali Minister, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky and numerous others all spoke out to defend Rabbi Riskin. All had pointed questions for a Chief Rabbinate that would dismiss a community’s chief rabbi who had helped build a city and was still seen as a hugely popular spiritual leader.

The public power struggle began to deteriorate instead into an issue of who gets to make decisions on Jewish issues in the State of Israel and at which levels of government.

Ultimately, said Lau, “the Rabbinical Council reviews extension of a local rabbi’s tenure in a meeting with that individual along with his relevant documents. An exception is made when the extension of his term comes in the month prior to mandatory retirement – and thus the debate over Rabbi Riskin’s term extension was postponed so as to invite him to meet with the Council to discuss the matter.

“This has been the standard procedure in the past, and it will remain so in the future,” he added. The legal authority to extend the statutory tenure of local chief rabbis rests with Israel’s Chief Rabbinical Council, Lau pointed out. “It is not a ‘rubber stamp’ process, nor does the Council automatically confirm the extension of a rabbi’s term in office, unless it first properly examines his application,” he noted. “We repeat: pressure and threats will not force us to make shortcuts or deviate from what is a necessary process.”

Rabbi Riskin’s office responded to JewishPress.com saying, “We hope the matter will indeed be resolved. Our only objective is bringing Am Yisrael closer to Torah and Mitzvot. Rabbi Riskin is dedicated to continue serving the residents of Efrat.”

Largest Knesset Delegation Ever Tours Auschwitz

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Dozens of lawmakers from Israel, the United States and Europe convened at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau for ceremonies commemorating its liberation 69 years ago.

The largest foreign parliamentary delegation landed in Poland from Israel on Monday, Jan. 27 — the day that the United Nations in 2005 designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — and consisted of 58 Knesset members. Constituting nearly half of the Israeli parliament, it is the largest Knesset delegation ever to have visited the Auschwitz compound, organizers said.

Several Knesset members, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, attended a solemn prayer led by Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi rabbi, David Lau, near the famous “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will make you free”) sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz camp.

The U.S. delegation is headed by Rep. Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican and first Jewish majority leader of Congress. With Cantor are Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). They are scheduled to be joined by 23 lawmakers from 10 European Union member states who came with European Friends of Israel and the Israeli-Jewish Congress.

In Krakow, the Knesset delegation is scheduled to hold a ceremonial inter-parliamentary session with the Polish parliament, the Sejm.

“When we say ‘Never Again,’ we can say it because there is a Jewish state and a Jewish army,” the event’s Israeli initiator, Johnny Daniels, told JTA on Monday. “The presence of half the Israeli parliament in Auschwitz is a powerful symbol for that reason.”

Daniels, a 28-year-old Britton who immigrated to Israel 10 years ago, began producing the event six months ago as executive director of From the Depths, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to Holocaust education.

“Holocaust survivors are dying fast and it was important for us to create a platform where their voice will be heard,” he said. The ceremony at Auschwitz will be attended by 24 Holocaust survivors.

He also said that the attendance of Sejm lawmakers signifies their government’s dedication to commemorating the Holocaust and that “Poles, too, have been victimized by Nazi Germany.”

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Dannon told JTA he viewed the meeting with Polish and other European lawmakers as “a chance to raise issues which cannot be ignored — the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, whose latest examples were a pig’s head at a synagogue in Rome and attacks on Jews in Kiev.”

Israeli Chief Rabbi Recalls Kristallnacht at Berlin Kindergarten

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi marked the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht with a visit to a Jewish kindergarten in Berlin.

“Connecting Jews in Germany to their roots is the worthiest retort to the darkness that prevailed here 75 years ago,” Rabbi David Lau said during his first official visit to Berlin, where he went to the Chabad-run Judische Traditionsschule Talmud-Thora kindergarten.

Dozens of Jews were killed in rioting that erupted on Nov. 9, 1938 and came to be known as Kristallnacht.

During his visit, Lau is scheduled to attend the General Assembly of the Conference of European Rabbis, which is bringing 200 members from across Europe to the German capital for the first time.

Attendees will mark the 10th anniversary of Germany’s Orthodox Rabbinical Council. They will also attend a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony at the Beth Zion Synagogue in former East Berlin, which survived the 1938 pogrom and is now part of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-chief-rabbi-recalls-kristallnacht-at-berlin-kindergarten/2013/11/10/

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