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

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin to ‘Stay On No Matter What’ Says Efrat Mayor

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is planning take his case to the Supreme Court of Israel if necessary, and Efrat Mayor Oded Ravivi says he is adamant Riskin must stay on, “regardless of what the Chief Rabbinate of Israel says.”

Ravivi warned that he would not tolerate political interference from the country’s rabbinical council officials when there is a “clear consensus that Rabbi Riskin is performing his duties faithfully.”

In an interview Tuesday with the Hebew-language “Kipa” website, Ravivi slammed the threat by the Chief Rabbinate not to extend Riskin’s term of office in his city.

“I watch this process in wonder and amazement,” Ravivi said. “Overall there is a consensus here that Rabbi Riskin is doing his job exceptionally well.

The parliament understands that the rabbi must respond to the definition of “creating for yourself a rabbinic authority” – someone to whom one can turn in time of spiritual and moral need – half of these voters who support the rabbi are city council members, 25 percent are synagogue members and 25 percent are simply those who are spiritual followers.

“Rabbi Riskin is one of the founders of this community,” the mayor continued. “Is there anyone who is a more integral part of this city? He is part of the infrastructure and the living spirit of this place.

“The Rabbinate decides not to reappoint him – so does that mean he will no longer bless celebrations here? People will no longer consult him? I would bet that the reality will not change, even if the Chief Rabbinate does decide not to extend his appointment,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, Riskin himself has said that he will appeal the issue to the nation’s Supreme Court. In addition to serving as the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Riskin also heads the Ohr Torah Stone institutions as well.

“I read the newspapers and hear that the matter is about conversions and the fact that I was supposed to set up a conversion court along with other town rabbis,” Riskin explains.

“I wanted to open the gates for people from the former Soviet Union who live here in Israel, born to Jewish fathers. There is an issue here that must be resolved, and that can be resolved, if conversion courts will become more embracing,yet 100 percent according to Jewish law.”

Report: Rabbinate May Be Plotting to Dump Rabbi Riskin of Efrat

Monday, May 25th, 2015

The Chief Rabbinate met in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss whether to extend the term of Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, but it postponed a decision until he appears personally for another hearing.

An extension of Rabbi Riskin’s term requires a special meeting because he is now 75 years old, but the Kipa website reported, “Senior officials in the Rabbinate plan to hold a discussion on his term of office and not automatically renew it in order to block his re-appointment because of his opinions. If there will be another discussion of the entire Rabbinate, a majority will vote against Rabbi Riskin.”

Rabbi Riskin supports establishing more religious courts to oversee conversions, a move that is stiffly opposed by the Hareidi establishment. He also has been active in promoting women’s rights in the Orthodox world, another move that the Hareidi establishment considers near blasphemy.

Rabbi Riskin’s office told The Jewish Press that it was not aware of the report by Kipa, but previous rabbis over the age of 70 have been asked to retire, regardless of their opinions. The spokesman for the Rabbinate told The Jewish Press that there have been cases where the term of a rabbi over the age of 70 has been extended, depending on his health.

Nevertheless, Monday’s discussion raises several questions to which the spokesman for the Chief Rabbinate said, “I don’t know.”

He said that Rabbis Riskin will be asked to appear personally, probably in the next several weeks, to answer questions about his health.

If that is the case, why didn’t the Chief Rabbinate ask for his medical records?

I don’t know.

Why didn’t the Rabbinate invite Rabbi Riskin today?

I don’t know.

Will Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion be discussed in the upcoming hearing?

I don’t know.

However, the spokesman did confirm that the issue of conversion was not discussed today.

A decision to retire Rabbi Riskin, the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City, without any other basis than opposition to his views could spur a legal battle in the Supreme Court. The Religious Affairs Ministry is now under the control of the Shas party, which may influence the Rabbinate’s decision in favor of ousting Rabbi Riskin.

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri is close to Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef who founded the Shas party and was its spiritual leader until his death less than two years ago.

Hopefully, this report by The Jewish Press.com will arouse public opinion, influence the Rabbinate, and pave the way for the distinguished rabbis to extend Rabbi Riskin’s term.

Read: TZOHAR’s statement on the upcoming hearing.

Beauty is as Beauty Does; Saphira Products Promote Pure Israel

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

When she was in 10th grade, Saphira Tessler’s parents took her and her brother to Israel for her father’s sabbatical year. Saphira was not happy.  But within months, Tessler changed her mind — and she changed it so dramatically that her mother gave in and moved to Ranaana so that Saphira could complete 11th and 12th grade in Israel, the land which had become her home.

And that country is so important to Saphira, that by the time she graduated in 2012 from the InterDisciplinary Center in Herzliya, she had already married an Israeli and the two committed to starting a business in the Jewish State, one using not just Dead Sea minerals, but in which every single aspect of Saphira Hair is from Israel – from the bottles in which the products are poured, to the boxes in which they are shipped.  The design, production, materials, employees and packaging are all Israeli.

But simply showing support for the Jewish state is not all that Saphira Hair has going for it – Saphira and her husband Aviad Greenberg spent a year meeting with chemists and visiting factories to find the exact right combination of minerals that would work miracles for the hair that Dead Sea minerals do for the skin.

And beyond having a beautiful product with tasteful but glamorous packaging, the woman behind the soon-to-be empire gives meaning to the cliché “beautiful inside and out.” And she’s got talent to boot!


Saphira and her older brother, Roniel, grew up in Potomac, Maryland, where their father has been the rabbi of Beth Sholom Synagogue for nearly 30 years.  Her mother, Aviva, co-founded and is the executive director of Operation Embrace, a non-profit which provides services to Israeli victims of terrorism.

Both Saphira’s parents are musical.  Her mother was an opera singer and her father thought he was going to become an actor on Broadway.  Instead, her father met up with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, formerly of New York City’s Lincoln Square Synagogue, who told Saphira’s father: “no, you’re going to become a rabbi.”

After receiving smicha from Rabbi Yosef B. Soleveichik, Rabbi Tessler later not only was the spiritual leader of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Potomac, but is also currently the president of the International Rabbinic Fellowship of the Rabbinical Council of America.

With music running in her veins, Saphira also was interested in singing.  She applied and was accepted to New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, but deferred for a year while she attended the Lindenbaum Seminary in Jerusalem.  Although Lindenbaum is a studious seminary, Saphira found the time to attend nightly rehearsals and starred in the musical “Rent” in Jerusalem.

By the time Saphira completed her seminary year, she realized she could not return to the States and instead enrolled at the InterDisciplinary Center, majoring in psychology.

While a student at the IDC, Saphira initiated an empowerment program for pre-adolescent girls at Elazraki, a school for disadvantaged children in Netanya.  She later took the same program, called “Strong Women, Strong Girls” to work with girls from privileged backgrounds in schools around Herzliya.

“The girls from privileged backgrounds needed it even more than did the ones who were ‘disadvantaged!'” Saphira told The Jewish Press in interview on Monday, Nov. 4.

Saphira was the president of the IDC’s Hillel, and one of her responsibilities was to run the Shabbat dinners. Some Israeli students who came to the dinners told their friend Aviad about Saphira, and they two finally met.

“I told him I would go out with him, but not to a coffeehouse, as he suggested,” Saphira said about her first date with Aviad. “I told him we had to go to a cabaret, because although I would only date a religious boy, it had to be a boy for whom women singing in public was acceptable.”

Aviad went to the cabaret, passed the “Saphira Test” and they were married in August, 2011.  The two took the money they received as wedding gifts, and invested it all in starting their hair care business.


Saphira says she was always fascinated by the incredible benefits from the Dead Sea, and she began to wonder whether it would also work to make hair soft and beautiful, just as it does for the skin.  Aviad, whose father is in the hair care business, encouraged his new wife to explore the idea.

Rabbi Riskin Permits Women to Read Ruth for Men in Orthodox Shul

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Tomorrow, on the holiday of Shavuot, in one of the synagogues of the town of Efrat in Judea and Samaria, two women will come up to read the Megillah of Ruth as both the men and women of the shul will be listening. This will not be taking place in a Reform or even Conservative synagogue, but in the Zemer Hazayit Orthodox synagogue of the town’s most prominent rabbi, who is one of its founders, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

“The initiative for the Megillah reading by women began with a constraint,” Dina Mann, one of the two Shavuot readers, told Maariv. Last Purim, the shul was looking for a man to read the Esther Megillah, and when none was found, the women of the community, many of whom have been reading the Esther Megillah for women for years, posed an halachic query to Rabbi Riskin, asking if they could read Esther in the absence of a qualified man.

The Efrat Rabbi answered that while men cannot keep the mitzvah of hearing the Esther Megillah by listening to a woman’s reading, it would be allowable with other megillahs (Ecclesiastics, Song of Songs, Ruth and Lamentations).

“One of the principles of our synagogue is the integration of women within the framework of halacha,” Mann said, “under the guidance and decisions of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.”

“This point is deeply ingrained in the core idea of our synagogue,” she added.

The women will be reading the Megillah from the women’s section.

Mann said she expected the men of the synagogue to be very accepting of the new custom.

Rabbi Riskin told Maariv that he sees no problem in women’s reading behind a mechitzah. He said that the only reason he had not allowed women’s reading of the Esther Megillah had to do with the fact that some Ashkenazi rabbis are explicitly against it – while the Sephardim support it.

The Shulchan Aruch follows the Gemara Megillah in stating that it is permitted for women to go up to the Torah—which included reading allowed one’s assigned portion—but at the same time discourages actually letting them fulfill the mitzvah because it might offend the congregation.

It appears that Rabbi Riskin’s congregation is not easily offended.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/women-to-read-ruth-for-men-in-rabbi-riskins-shul/2013/05/14/

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