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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi David Lau’

Chief Rabbi Asks Families to Host Stranded Drivers on Shabbat

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Chief Rabbi David Lau said has urged Jerusalem families to open their doors and host drivers and passengers stranded in the mammoth snowstorm that has closed highways out of the city and buried the capital under 18 inches of snow.

He also said that efforts to rescue people stranded on highways must continue during Shabbat, explaining that the situation is one of “pikuach nefesh” wherein violations of Jewish law on the Sabbath are lifted in life-threatening circumstances.

Soldiers, police and rescue crew have evacuated more than 2,300 people from snowbound highway and streets.

Ben Gurion Airport was shut down Friday morning for two hours.

The snow is expected to continue through the night and taper off on Saturday. Snow has fallen in areas that are only 1,000 feet high and rarely see precipitation other than rain.

Tzohar Rabbis Group Says New Law to Help Stop Assimilation

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The new law that the Knesset passed Monday night to allow couples to register for marriages wherever they want will help prevent civil marriages abroad and stop a wave of assimilation, according to the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization

“Local rabbinates functioned as mini-monopolies, causing widespread resentment among both religious and secular couples,” the Tzohar group said. “In addition to severe bureaucratic obstacles, many ultra-orthodox local rabbis prohibit Zionist rabbis from performing weddings and do not recognize the rabbinic authority of most North American community rabbis.”

It added that the result of the system has been that secular couples traveled to Cyprus and Prague for civil marriages, creating a situation in which “their children will find it almost impossible to prove their Jewish roots in the future.”

Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization, said, “Many people are unaware that Israel is suffering from a wave of mass assimilation and intermarriage. This is mostly due to bureaucratic factors rather than halachic challenges.”

Did New Chief Rabbi Lau Cheat on his Ordination Exam?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Rabbi David Lau, the recently elected chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel, has been accused of cheating on an ordination exam.

Israel’s Channel 2 reported Sunday that Lau in 1993 brought papers with the questions and answers to previous exams into one of his ordination tests. Reference material is not permitted in ordination exams.

The papers did not have Lau’s name on them.

Lau was disqualified from the exam. He took and passed the test in 1994, the year he received his ordination.

Reporter Amit Siegal said Channel 2 had received information accusing Lau of cheating on the exam on the eve of the election late last month. However, the news channel refrained from reporting on the information as it attempted to verify the accusation, the Times of Israel reported.

Channel 2 received a signed affidavit documenting the incident from Rabbi Uzi Levi, the test’s proctor and a senior official in the Chief Rabbinate’s ordination department

Last week, Lau came under fire for using a racist slur in describing Israeli and foreign basketball players. He was elected to serve as Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi for the next 10 years.

R. Lau to Submit Conversion Rulings to Haredi Review in Backroom Deal

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Three weeks after the stunning knockout a coalition of Haredi and Hardali (National religious Haredim) politicians delivered to Jewish Home and its hapless leader, Minister of Religious Services Naftalli Bennett, Ma’ariv reveals the price that had to be paid before the approval of Rabbi David Lau by the extremist Haredi camp: control over non-Haredi conversions.

Over the past three weeks, we’ve heard nothing but praise for the new Ashkenazi chief rabbi, who, as rabbi of Modi’in, a typical mixed religious and secular Israeli town, has shown the kind of moderation and acceptance one expects of a rabbinical shepherd. Some, like National Religious pundit Menachem Rahat, have gone so far as to suggest that under normal circumstances—meaning before the overwhelming sweep of Jewish Home and the ousting of the Haredim from government—someone as sweet and accepting as Rabbi David Lau would not have stood a chance to be selected, and that he was picked only as a desperate response to the popular Rabbi David Stav, a National Religious scholar and leader who was going to revamp the chief rabbinate.

And it worked. Like Menachem Rahat, the prevailing tone of the National Religious commentators following Lau’s election (and Stav’s defeat) has been that at least Rabbi Lau is a nice guy, a moderate, a uniter, not a divider.

All those well wishers may have to reexamine their praises now. According to Ma’ariv, in closed conversations Rabbi David Lau conducted with some Haredi decision makers before the vote, he gave them his commitment that all of his ruling regarding conversions would be submitted to a review by Rabbi Avraham Sherman, the man who gained his reputation as the killer of Rabbi Chaim Druckman’s thousands of kosher giurim-conversions.

Back in May of 2008, the Supreme Rabbinical Court judges Rabbis Hagai Izirer, Avraham Sherman and Avrohom Sheinfeld annulled thousands of conversions done by two National Religious rabbis, determining that:

“First, all conversions performed since 1999 by Rabbi Chaim Avior and Rabbi Chaim Drukman must be disqualified; second, conversions can be retroactively annulled for those who are not observant.”

Attorney Susan Weiss, founding director of the Center for Women’s Justice (JOFA), told Ynet in 2008 that the verdict had far-reaching implications on thousands of people who underwent conversion in the last few years—and on their children.

Much has been written and said about the case, which had territorial war written all over it. It was the first case of such massive, retroactive annulments of giurim-conversions, and the fact that the injured rabbis were renowned National Religious figures, while the court that destroyed their decades of work—as part of the chief rabbinate!—was comprised only of Haredim, was a sign that the Haredim were determined to annul not just the conversions, but also the foothold of the religious Zionists in the Chief Rabbinate.

In the spring of 2012, Israel’s Supreme Court re-affirmed the validity of the thousands of conversions disqualified retroactively by the Rabbinical Court in 2008, but stopped short of saying the rabbinical courts did not have the authority to annul conversions.

Still, the justices did not spare the rabbinical court their criticism. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote in the verdict:

“The Rabbinical Court of Appeals rode roughshod over basic procedural rules and the principles of natural justice. It demonstrated contempt for the special conversion courts, and above all, it hurt and did a shocking injustice to the petitioners and their children.”

Maariv spoke to Rabbi Sherman who confirmed the story about the condition for Rabbi Lau’s election. According to rabbi Sherman, Rabbi Lau met with Rabbi Yosef Efrati, a confidant of the late Rabbi Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian Haredim.

“Rabbi Lau told Rabbi Efrati that on all matters regarding conversions he would come to talk to me and consult in me before reaching a decision, because I have been involved in these issues as a confidant of Rabbi Elyashiv, and I am familiar with his rulings on these matters.”

And so the circle is complete: the most fundamental driving force behind the candidacy of Rabbi David Stav, the celebrated chairman of the Tzohar organization, dedicated to making life under halacha more palatable for secular Israelis, was the brutal treatment of thousands of converts by Rabbi Sherman and his co-justices. Now it is clear that not only did the Haredi politicians manage to subvert the attempts to ease their hold on religious life in the country, but that Religious Zionism has lost the most crucial battle of that campaign. The forces that gave us the disqualification of thousands of Jewish lives are back at the helm, stronger and smarter.

Update: Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger under House Arrest

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Police have released Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on condition of “house arrest” for five says, during which time he is forbidden from leaving the country or making contact with anyone under investigation on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Police questioned Rabbi Metzger for 10 hours before releasing him close to midnight Thursday night.

He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Police have taken into custody Rabbi Metzger’s aide, Chaim Eizenstein, for eight days. Also being held for six and seven days respectively are officials of two non-profit organizations,  Beit HaTavshil director Simcha Karkovsky  and Ben Zion Tzioni, head of the Tzedaka V’Mishpat.

Israeli fraud squad officers raided Rabbi Metzger’s home and office Thursday morning following an undercover probe the past several months.  Police received authorization from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to carry out the raid and arrests.

Police confiscated computers and documents and opened bank accounts.

The Chief Rabbi allegedly pocketed hundreds of  thousands of shekels, and possibly more, that were intended for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Also questioned and eventually arrested were one of the rabbi’s aides and two NGO officials.

Other arrests are expected.

The probe is the latest in a lengthening list of investigations of Israeli public figures, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was acquitted on two major charges and found guilty on one count, and suspended Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The suspicions against Rabbi Metzger are grave, and if indictments are filed, the case would be a bombshell for an Israeli public that is increasingly distrustful of the police, politicians and judges.

Nevertheless, the  timing of the indictment against Lieberman and the questioning of Lieberman is interesting. Accusations and investigations against Lieberman dragged on for more than 10 years before an indictment was filed late last year, coincidentally around the time new elections were scheduled.

Rabbi Metzger, from the Haredi community, is being questioned days before the election of new chief rabbis. The two leading candidates for the Ashkenazi post are Haredi Rabbi David Lau and national religious Rabbi David Stav.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/fraud-squad-questions-chief-rabbi-yona-metzger/2013/06/21/

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