Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, who founded and served at the office for conversion to Judaism in Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and was director of the Tzomet Institute for the halakhah and technology and editor-in-chief of its prestigious journal Techumin, passed away at age 76 early Thursday morning, following a serious medical event.
His funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 2 PM in Kfar Etzion.
Born in Tel Aviv, Rabbi Rosen lived in Alon Shevut with his wife Shlomit and their five children. He founded the kolel at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, but also studied electronics, at Machon Lev and Bar-Ilan University. He combined the two areas of study, providing technological innovation to facilitate Jewish observance in the modern era at the Tzomet Institute.
In addition to his halachik work, Rabbi Rosen was editor of the weekly synagogue newsletter Shabbat B’Shabbato where he wrote a weekly column. He wrote commentaries on Rabbinic interpretations of the Bible.
A staunch conservative, Rabbi Rosen never minced words when it came to responding to social and political issues. Having served as member of Habayit Hayehudi presidium, last August Rabbi Rosen resigned from the party in protest over its choice of a spokesperson.
He had no problem calling a spade a spade, as he did in his 2008 article about Amalek as a concept, rather than an ethnic group. Rabbi Rosen argued that today’s Amalek are “all those in whom there burns a deep and abiding hatred of Israel on a national or religious basis.”
Rabbi Rosen wrote: “Those who slaughter students poring over their Torah, those who rain Qassams down indiscriminately on men, women, old and young, babes and sucklings – those who hail the destruction of Israel and dance on the blood, are Amalek in our generation,” and so “only with hostility, and by conquering our humane emotions that are contrary to that, will we be victorious.”
May his memory be blessed.