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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

Safed Rabbi Arrested for Alleged Rape

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Police Thursday morning arrested a rabbi from Safed (Tzfat) whom a woman said raped her after giving her spiritual guidance several years ago.

A second woman filed a complaint Wednesday night.

The allegations were presented to rabbis in Tzfat last month, and rabbinical leaders, including Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, asked the alleged rapist to leave the city during the investigation. The rabbis informed the police, who were not able to act until one of the women filed a complaint, which she finally did this week.

The national religious rabbi, who is a Kabbalist, was arrested while he was on his way to Ben Gurion Airport. He has denied the allegations.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Chief Rabbinate Bows to Pressure to Extend Rabbi Riskin’s Term

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

The attempt by the Chief Rabbinate to oust Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as Chief Rabbi or Efrat is doomed, and the rabbis will extend his term after meeting on Monday, the Hareidi Kikar Shabbat website reported.

If the rabbis could have their way, they would vote against Riskin, but they fear a media and public backlash, according to the report.

The issue arose several weeks ago when it was reported that rabbis in the Chief Rabbinate do not like Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion and his liberal attitude towards women.

He has reached the age of 75 and needs permission from the Rabbinate to continue serving.

An argument broke out in the Rabbinate between the majority of rabbis and the legal department, which said that a rabbi’s medical condition is the only grounds they can use to refuse to extend his term.

After the attempt to oust Rabbi Riskin was exposed, Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett said:

I do not accept the attempt to demote a public servant because of his opinions and then say it is because of his age. Rabbi Risking helped established Efrat, and he has merits that do not allow his being used as a political target.

He is allowed to have a different opinion, and shutting the door to other opinions is prohibited.

The attitude of the Chief Rabbinate can be discerned from a recording of comments by Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, who was quoted earlier this month by Kikar Shabbat as saying:

We say in daily prayers every morning, ‘God has not made me a woman,’ not like someone from Efrat who comes up with all kinds of new ideas makes news and wages wars.

 
The phrase “”make news and wage battles” is a reference to another prayer in the morning prayers, in which  it is recited that God “brings about new developments and is the Master of wars.”

A senior official in the Chief Rabbinate told Kikar Shabbat:

We estimate that his term will be extended. The rabbis in the council have an interest that Rabbi Riskin will commit himself to be subject to the Chief Rabbinate. There is a strong doubt that he will agreed to do so, but the rabbis will try.”

Legally, they cannot vote to oust Rabbis Riskin without medical proof that he is not fit for office.

Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion and women do not fit in with the Hareidi Orthodox model.

The Chief Rabbinate, still a bastion of Hareidi power, has lost the trust of Israelis who once respected it, especially when Hareidi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau was in office. The charismatic rabbi never let his opinions get in the way of reaching out to all Israelis with understanding, something that is totally lacking in the Chief Rabbinate today.

Their refusal to accept any other opinion in the Orthodox world only makes them more vulnerable to a collapse of their authority under the weight of pressure from the Reform community.

 

Below is a video of Rabbi Riskin’s explanation on this week’s Torah reading of Balak:

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Jewish Agency for Israel Calls for Special Diaspora Conversion Courts

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel is calling for the establishment of special religious courts in the Diaspora to handle conversions outside the State of Israel.

A resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority of the board at its meeting Wednesday (June 24) said that in the absence of such courts, the Agency would send rabbis to assist local communal rabbis in the endeavor.

“In light of The Jewish Agency’s responsibility to help ensure the unity of the Jewish people and in recognition of the existence of many interfaith families in various Jewish communities, The Jewish Agency wishes to facilitate these families’ full integration into the Jewish people via conversion, as well as through the possibility of Aliyah. In the absence of conversion courts able to serve those who wish to convert in many Jewish communities, The Jewish Agency will cooperate with the special conversion courts established for this purpose by sending rabbis to assist local communal rabbis.

“The Jewish Agency will accompany the converts through their process of preparing for Aliyah, for those who choose that option.”

“The Jewish Agency serves the needs of Jewish communities around the world,” said Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Agency.

“This is one of the very real needs voiced by various Jewish communities. The time has come to respond.”

The issue of Jewish conversion both in Israel and abroad is one that is complex, controversial and fiercely debated between individuals as well as communities.

Recently the community leadership position of a major Anglo-Israeli rabbinic figure came under question, it was believed, in part due to the controversy generated over this topic.

Hana Levi Julian

‘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.”

Hana Levi Julian

Rabbi Binyomin Klein, Member of Secretariat to Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l, 79, Passes Away

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Rabbi Binyomin Klein, 79, long-time aide and member of the secretariat of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt’l passed away on Friday morning in Brooklyn, New York. He will be remembered as the “Rebbe’s Ambassador” to Israeli officials.

Rabbi Klein also served on the boards of several major governing bodies of Chabad, including Machneh Israel, the social service arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.

Rabbi Klein was the liaison for Israeli diplomats, political, military and other leaders from Israel who came to see the Rebbe. During the 1977 visit of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Rebbe introduced Rabbi Klein to the Prime Minister as “my general.”

Rabbi Klein was born in 1935 to Menachem and Rochel Klein. His mother died in childbirth and he was raised by his father, who headed the Jerusalem Chevra Kadisha, the Jewish burial society. As a teen he studied in the Chabad Torat Emet school in Jerusalem. In 1956 he traveled to New York to study in the court of the Rebbe.

After his marriage to Laya Schusterman, the couple moved to Australia where Rabbi Klein was among the founders of Yeshiva Gedolah of Melbourne, Australia and New Zealand. In 1963, the Kleins returned to the United States where Rabbi Klein joined the Secretariat of Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Rabbi Klein spoke little about his work in the Rebbe’s office. He was beloved by so many who interfaced with him as they corresponded with the Rebbe. He was also the person with whom many others spoke as they brought their precious tzetlach, their notes and letters to the office in “770” to be handed sometimes immediately to the Rebbe as he sat in his office just a few feet away.

Upon occasion, Rabbi Klein would tell a visitor to wait for a response, rather than the more common written or telephoned reply that often came later — hours or even days later. Despite his high position, One of the Rebbe’s main secretaries, he never forgot a face; he was also unfailingly courteous, gentle and kind.

Rabbi Klein kept long hours, often returning home at 2 a.m. Yet his home was famous for its hospitality, open always to guests and visitors. It was a second home to countless young women who came to Crown Heights as they began to learn about Judaism and return to their roots. It was here that they found a welcome place for meals, a listening ear, some good advice.

The funeral passed by Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway late Friday afternoon before Rabbi Klein’s body was brought to the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.

Rabbi Klein was laid to rest near the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l and that of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, z’tl, in the Chabad-Lubavitch section of the cemetery.

Baruch HaDayan HaEmes. May his memory be for a blessing.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Organizations Raise Relief Funds after Houston Flood

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Jewish organizations are raising disaster-relief funds following the devastating flooding in Texas earlier this week, during which Houston’s Jewish community sat at the center of the damage experienced by that city.

Countless Jewish homes and multiple synagogues were among the structures damaged following rain that exceeded 11 inches in some areas on Monday and Tuesday.

The Orthodox Union, which is raising flood-relief funds, sent its senior managing director, Rabbi Steven Weil, to help assess the damage on site in Houston.

B’nai B’rith International opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund in the city following the Houston flood.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is raising flood-relief funds in Houston, noting that “many in our community have lost everything” in the hardest-hit neighborhood. Other Jewish Federations around the country are raising relief funds for Houston.

At the same time, local Jewish community is trying to focus on the positive, and Rabbi Barry Gelman, the leader of a heavily flood-damaged Orthodox synagogue, wrote to his congregants:

Let us focus on repairing what was ruined and rededicating ourselves to what makes UOS (United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston) so special, the community. After all, what is really special about us are the people that make up our community. That is what is indispensable—the building can always be fixed.

JNS News Service

Rare 1,000 Yr Old Ketubah on Exhibit in Jerusalem

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

An extremely rare 1,000-year-old ketubah inscribed in Aramaic is now on exhibit in the National Library in Jerusalem.

The Jewish marriage contract dates from November 28, 1023 (CE), according to Dr. Yoel Finkelman, curator for the National Library’s Judaica section.

Written by a scribe named in the ketubah as Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov, the document was inscribed in what once was the town of Tzur for a couple named Natan HaKohen, son of Shlomo, and Rachel. Both were from Tzefat (Safed.)

An ancient ketubah written in Aramaic in 1063 CE in the town of Tzur, part of Tzefat, by the scribe Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov Hakohen.

An ancient ketubah written in Aramaic in 1063 CE in the town of Tzur, by the scribe Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov Hakohen.

The document is especially significant as it provides concrete evidence of a Jewish community in the city of Tzefat (Safed) in the 11th century (CE).

Although all ketubahs – including those written to this very day – list a section detailing the obligations of the husband to provide for the wife, and her rights in the event of divorce, some have additional sections as well. In fact, ketubahs have not changed much at all over the past 2,500 years; they still are written in the same format, more or less, and with the same intent: to list the obligations of the groom towards his bride, to list the contents of the dowry, and the amount of money the groom is providing to the bride as security should the marriage fail and end in divorce, as well as any other conditions that might apply.

The Tzefat Ketubah is one of these, commented Finkelman, noting an additional section in this case. “For instance, if the woman has expensive jewelry or her parents give gifts in honor of the wedding and then the couple divorce, those items are returned to her,” he explained. In the ancient document, there is indeed a list of Rachel HaKohen’s jewelry, household items and clothing – including the weight and monetary value of each item. Moreover, the disposition of each item is discussed, should various events take place – even should the wife become “mentally unstable.”

Regretfully, in today’s world, the ketubah is sometimes disregarded when marriages become fractured. Some Jewish husbands reverse the document, forcing the wife’s family instead to pay a bribe in order to win a divorce contract that by Jewish law can only be granted by a husband. In other, more rare cases, sometimes an estranged wife refuses a divorce contract, likewise holding a disenchanted husband hostage as well.

In any of the above scenarios, expert rabbinic negotiators are usually sought in order to resolve the conflict. In severe cases, the struggle can sometimes take years.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rare-1000-yr-old-ketuba-on-exhibit-in-jerusalem/2015/05/26/

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