Thursday, February 07, 2013

Equality between Orthodox and non-Orthodox in the Rabbanut

Israel's Chief Rabbinate is working very hard to ensure that Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews are all given equal treatment: Until recently, Conservative and Reform Jews had felt very alienated by the Israel Chief Rabbinate, but Orthodox Jews did not.

Recognizing the inherent unfairness in this, for the last few years, the Rabbinate has been taking dramatic steps to ensure that Orthodox Jews also feel just as alienated.
Jewish Week: Jerusalem — About 20 years ago, an infant girl (“Nina,” a pseudonym) from an Orthodox family underwent a conversion in New York that, by Orthodox American standards, was and still is beyond reproach.

The three converting rabbis, whose names The Jewish Week has withheld so as not to harm their reputations, are highly respected figures in the mainstream Orthodox Jewish world, according to Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).

But that hasn’t stopped Israel’s Chief Rabbinate or Israel’s Ministry of Interior from questioning the conversion, evidently because it took place in a synagogue-based beit din (rabbinical court) that did not meet on a regular basis, and not in an external beit din dedicated solely to conversions, The Jewish Week has learned.

Read more of the world class treatment the Israel Chief Rabbinate in this article by the Jewish Week
None of this should be surprising especially in light of the blistering attacks from Shas on the "Jewish Home" (Religious Zionist party) before the elections by R' Ovadya Yosef:
“They call them the ‘Jewish Home’ but this is not a home for Jews; it is a home of goyim [gentiles],” Yosef said. “They want to uproot the Torah, to institute civil marriage. It’s forbidden to vote for them. These are religious people? Anyone who votes for them denies the Torah.”

“They are all wicked, haters of Torah and mitzvot. They want to institute public transportation on Shabbat,” Yosef charged. “A Jew who wants to marry won’t have to go to the rabbinate — have you heard? How can they call themselves religious? How can we be complicit in this?” (Times of Israel)
Shas is so proud of these statements, that the official Shas party channel on youtube publicized the video (sorry it's only in Hebrew).

And then, in case some misguided soul thinks this was only pre-election nonsense, the Shas party newspaper "Yom L'Yom" attacked the Jewish Home party today:

The man with the kipa the size of an eye personifies how his kipa is the size of a "half shekel coin".  The agreement he is working hard on creating with the chairman of the new-old hatred party [J@TM: Yesh Atid party] shows that "something new is happening here [J@TM, "something new is happening" was the campaign slogan of the Jewish Home party]. Something Reform. Something "Goyish". "Remember what Amalek did to you" which tried to weaken the Torah -- this is an eternal concept.  Also in Israel. G-d forbid,  a new "Jewish Home" is being created.  Those who wish to weaken the Torah aren't part of a "Jewish Home" -- it is a house of "Goyim".

The Torah and Judaism survived for thousands of years before the Shas party, and will continue to survive and flourish even if the Shas party is not a member of the government.  In fact, based on the situation above, Torah will probably flourish more with Shas out of the government, and hopefully the Chief Rabbinate will revert back to a Rabbinate for all of Israel, with tolerance and justice for all.

And till R' Ovadya Yosef publicly apologizes for lambasting the "Jewish Home", the "Jewish Home" party should ignore Shas completely.

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Mark said...

Hopefully the "justice for all" that you're referring to includes Conservtive and Reformed.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mark: Conservative and Reform communities should definitely receive funding. There needs to be a solution similar to the one proposed by the Neeman Committee, which would oversee conversions in Israel, and would have a common denominator factor, so that converts in Israel would still be considered Jewish by Orthodoxy. Religious pluralism in Israel will only be successful when there is a unifying Jewish common denominator and doesn't cause more problems than it solves.

Mark said...

So, other than the funding aspect, you are saying about the Conservative and Reformed conversions exactly what the Chief Rabbinate is saying about the RCA's conversions.

You are offended when your level of religiousity is labelled as not enough, yet you then go and do the exact thing to groups that YOU consider inadequate.

Anonymous said...

Yom LeYom is taking this to an extreme, but Bennett is betraying most of his voters by becoming buddies with anti-religious leftist Lapid.

He has Shiga'on Gadlut. He wants to be PM and is trying to pander to the secular.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mark: Are you even aware of the Neeman committee's recommendation? Are you aware that it was well received by the Reform and Conservative movements?

Instead of a knee-jerk reaction trying to compare my position to that of the current Chief Rabbinate, why not read up on it.

I have been writing for 8 years on this blog about the need for a common Jewish denominator in Israel.

I think you don't appreciate the need for a solution which unifies instead of divides.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous; Yom lYom is the official voice of Shas.

If you read this blog, you'll see I am far from an advocate of Lapid -- and I have severely criticized last week.

To say that Bennet is "betraying his voters" is one thing (and I don't know if he is or not, I didn't vote for Bennet). To say the Bayit Yehudi are goyim and kofrim is something completely different.

Shas and R' Ovadya seem to have a problem differentiating between criticizing views and labeling someone as a kofer or goy.

yaak said...


WADR, such anti-Rav Ovadia rhetoric is beneath you.

Rav Ovadia doesn't need to apologize for taking stances against Bayit Yehudi's minority positions on public transportation on Shabbat and civil marriages. He wanted people to vote for a party where ALL its members follow Torah precepts and all its party positions follow the Torah.

Bayit Yehudi has rabbinic leadership, but the party leaders don't always follow their advice and are not bound to their advice.

This is a stance that Rav Ovadia doesn't need to apologize for - nor should he. In his mind, not following rabbinic leaders is acting like Goyim. You may disagree, but that's his stance, and it's a valid one.

Now, regarding the Yom Leyom article, the Jerusalem Post quotes Galei Tzahal that Rav Ovadia approved this message.

I'm not sure I buy it. This is because the 3 Shas leaders actually DISASSOCIATED THEMSELVES from the article, adding: "At this time, when we're facing threats at our doorstep, we must find what unites us, and not Halila what divides us - we must work as one block for the sake of shared values: strengthening Jewish identity, guarding the Torah world, and desiring national unity."

Would they do that if Rav Ovadia approved it? Don't you think they would have check with him first?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yaak: R' Shmuel Eliyahu said the exact same thing -- that Shas must apologize. source

Of course, Rav Ovadia can call anyone he wants, "goyim" -- its just not exactly the sort of statement you expect from gedolim.

Why did the 3 Shas leaders disassociate themselves from the article but NOT FROM the exact same statements from R' Ovadya? Do R' Ovadya's statements add or detract from "strengthening Jewish identity, guarding the Torah world, and desiring national unity." If R' Ovadya's statements are so divisive then perhaps, maybe, he shouldnt have said them?

And by the way - R' Ovadya HAD to have approved the Shas newspaper's article -- or else Shas would be a party of goyim who don't follow their own Rabbis! (Which raises the question, how can 3 Shas leaders come out against R' Ovadya's view and not be considered goyim?)

And if anything -- your statement proves that SHAS are the goyim!

yaak said...

Yes, I'm aware of Rav Shmuel Eliyahu's statement, and I disagree with him as well.

its just not exactly the sort of statement you expect from gedolim.

Just the opposite. Only Gedolim can make such a statement. We cannot.

Regarding the rest of your comment, it seems that you are conflating the idea of voting for BY and working with BY for a shared cause.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yaak: You can't expect Shas to work for a "shared cause" of "more Jewish unity" with BY after they called them (and continue to call them) goyim and kofrim.

Do you really expect people to have such low self-esteem to get trashed like that and then openly embrace Shas?

To their credit (and completely unlike Shas), BY didn't reply at all to the harsh slander thrown at them by Shas and R' Ovadya before the election.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yaak: From Bennet.

ציטוט מהפייסבוק של בנט:

עוכר ישראל", "עמלק", "מחריב עולם התורה"
במהלך הקמפיין הותקפנו כ"בית של גויים".
הבוקר, ש"ס המשיכה במתקפה חריפה על הציונות הדתית וזכיתי בשלל גינויים ("עמלק"), כאילו אני חפץ בהחרבת עולם התורה.
אינני אדם פרטי, ותחושתי האישית אינה רלוונטית. אני נציג של ציבור גדול מאוד, דתי ושאינו, ואינני מקבל או מבין את פשר מתקפות אלו.
הדבר היחיד שמניע אותנו הוא טובת עם ישראל כולו.
בחודשיים האחרונים (כן, גם בתקופת הקמפיין) אנו עוסקים בכל כוחינו בניסיון למצוא דרך לשלב את החרדים בכלכלה הישראלית ובשירות למדינת ישראל, ללא פגיעה בעולם התורה.
לתפיסתי, לימוד תורה הוא ערך עליון, והוא חיוני לעצם קיום העם היהודי.
פגשתי עשרות חרדים (רק אתמול ישבתי שעתיים עם מנהיג חרדי), רבנים, פוליטיקאים, מומחי כלכלה ואנשי בטחון ואני מאמין שאם נסיר את שיח השנאה, נוכל סוף סוף לפתור את הבעיה.
אני מבקש מאנשי ש"ס: הפסיקו

UrNoGadol said...

Yeah Jameel,

You have no right to have or express any opinion that isn't Daas Toirah as previously expressed by acceptable gedoilim.

Using that old trick of picking a different gadol who you illegitimately decided to agree with, instead of picking the opinion of the acceptable gadol, and using it to attack the first gadol is an unacceptable trick, and you are only using it to try to legitimize your independent thinking and conclusions you came about without a gadol telling you first what to think.

Shame on you.

yaak said...

I do expect Shas and BY to work together. This is because the statement by Rav Ovadia was only due to the aforementioned issues, which no one is saying was smoothed out, but people look past those issues - on both sides.

Shas looks past the issues and BY should look past their taking offense. (It really should not be offensive - it should be in the category of Mussar, or constructive criticism. They should really thank Rav Ovadia for giving them Mussar, in the spirit of Mishlei 12:1.)

They should do so because they do have common causes and can and should continue to work together to work those out.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yaak: If you see the video from R' Ovadya, its clear it wasn't mussar to BY, but an election message on what it's assur d'oraita to vote to BY.

I agree that BY and Shas have common causes, yet there is no way to achieve them by calling BY names.

Its a simple thing - apologize to BY, and they will be more than happy to work for common causes.

Shaming someone in public is the equivalent of killing them -- so how do you think an entire party feels?

Or is it that they simply don't deserve an apology, they don't deserve to have any self-respect, and that they do deserve to be called goyim and kofrim?

Is it that hard to get an apology from Shas?

yaak said...

You're right that the purpose was to tell the usual Shas voters who may be considering BY not to do so. However, the BY people should be taking it as Mussar, as that may have been Rav Ovadia's side purpose.

If you notice, Rav Ovadia wasn't calling BY names. What he was doing was using a cute play-on-words and saying that if a party decides issues without consulting Da'at Torah, it is not a Bayit Yehudi, but Bayit LeGoyim. And he wasn't calling people that vote for BY "Kofrim", but he said that they are Kofrim Batorah, since they don't necessarily listen to Da'at Torah. And he gave examples of this.

Apology not needed for this.

OTOH, the Yom LeYom article was uncalled for and Shas DID apologize.

Anonymous said...

Came by this blog. Cannot agree with you. To include conservative and especially reform together with orthodox Judaism is a mockery. The reform have caused irreparable harm to Judaism and considered by true Torah Jews as chotim and machtim! The state of Israel is going down an extremely slippery slope by the chipping away of everything that is holy to Torah Jews and that is why there is so much anger within the Jewish world. Jews must unite, but only under the guidance of Torah m'Slnai.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: I suggest you read the Neeman Commission's recommendation before you come to your conclusion that it makes a mockery of Torah.

Including them in the process doesn't mean that at the end of the day, the conversion isn't halachik.

Anonymous said...

Jameel: The Neeman Commission doesn't convince me or those who know better. His is a political office and we all know that has nothing really to do with Torah/halacha. The Reform movement has been and is a thorn in the sides of the Jewish people. Their mistake is that they have the audacity to change whatever pleases them in Torah. Who are they to go up against our holy sages of thousands of years who, literally, had the holy spirit upon them! One can be observant or not (like kidnapped children) but to make a 'movement' within Judaism that rejects and accepts what it wishes and then proclaims that the Torah is 'not' Divine, but man-written and as times have changed, and so they think they can change the Torah too is pure chutzpah. That's a chilul H'. Do you know that up until thirty or so years ago, the Reform movement just had three paragraphs in their Shmoneh Esrai prayers, and Yerushalayim and Tzion were completely omitted in all their tefilot and from the siddurim? Tells you something, doesn't it? Now they've become Israel's best friend and demand to have their say in 'halacha'.

Shira Salamone said...

I just think it's sad that there's so much divisiveness within the Jewish world that the Orthodox can't even agree on the "Who is a Jew?" question among *themselves," never mind the rest of us. I'd love to see the Jewish People put politics--governmental and/or religious--aside and work on shalom bayit (peace in the home) within Bet Yisrael/the House of Israel.

Chosid said...

"Israel's Chief Rabbinate is working very hard to ensure that Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews are all given equal treatment:"

And they wonder why an army conversion or a rabbanut hecsher, or any of the other rabbanut institutions, are considered to be a collective joke by Charedim?

The Rabbanut is successful at one thing, and that is alienating everyone. May G-d protect us from a zionist (non-halachic) rabbanut.

Gee a Moron said...

This type of sinat chinam, emphasizing the differences instead of the commonality between us will lead to the 3rd churban.

R' Amsalem said...

G. A. M: Yes, you are 100% correct.

As Naftali Bennet said to Shas on his webpage: ENOUGH!

Nachum said...

Hey, the half-shekel is the biggest coin! I'll take that.

Mark: You know it's not "Reformed," right?

Anonymous said...

To Gee & Amsalen: There is no commonality in Judiasm when it is not under the banner of true Torah! When someone converts under real Orthodoxy, then they are accepted by all the Jewish communities, but when they are under the auspices of conservative or especially, reform, they are meaningless, because both these movements do not adhere to Torah m'Sinai! Torah m'Sinai is the essential basic factor that we are still here as a people after 3000 years. Otherwise, we would have long been assimilated (as other nations) into the nations. What is so difficult to understand? As far as the Rabbinate in Israel is concerned, let's be truthful, they are part of the government and do as they are told (even if they themselves are against something). That's why people do not trust Rabbis in government!

Mark said...

To Anonymous: Thanks for pointing out the "reformed" error. I will immediately update my spell-check auto update so this error never offends you again.

Of course, I'm not sure what to do about your offensive view that only your way is acceptable. It is exactly as I wrote at the very beginning... "Justice for all" and "achdus" seem to mean (to you) "everyone must agree with me and then we can get along".

R' Amsalem said...

Anonymous: And which true rabbi is the banner waver of true torah (TM)?

Is it the son'im or the mechablim (in Ponovitch) or "bayit yehudi is goyim and you must vote for shas" or the Satmar rebbe who says its assur d'oraisa to vote?

Maybe it's Ger who ARE talking to BY?

The Daas Torah isn't with people who spend all day slamming others.

yaak said...

It's amazing how ignorant or just plain malicious people are about Rav Ovadia.

R' Amsalem [talking to the commenter by that name], just FYI, Shas IS talking to BY. Rav Ovadia slammed no person or any group of people. He is the biggest Oheiv Yisrael in the world. (I can show that to you if you so desire.) What he is slamming is an ideology of not listening to rabbis. If BY would be bound to rabbis - any rabbis who uphold the Torah - which includes Rav Lior and Rav Shmuel Eliyahu - that would be fine. Unfortunately, the party is not bound to the rabbis' viewpoints and it's Ish Kol Hayashar Be'einav. That's why Rav Ovadia slammed BY.

The Da'at Torah is with Rav Ovadia.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Yaak re HaRav Ovadiah Yosef. But to the those that just commented on Anonymous about
'viewpoints'. This matter has nothing to do with a person's viewpoints. We are talking about the sanctity of a nation, the Jewish nation. Those who seem to think that their liberalism trumps Torah - well, all that could be said is that is their problem. There is Achdut only when it doesn't go against Torah and time honored traditions which go back thousands of years. Who are we in this lowliest of eras to override the sages of yesteryear? This is the prelude to the coming of Moshiach Tzdkeinu, and only because we are standing on the shoulders of those great sages that we will merit the coming of Moshiach and not because we ourselves are deserving. If you cannot accept that the Reform movement has been & is an off-shoot sect and cannot be accepted to convert people to Judaism, etc., etc., then it's no use in discussing the matter any further. The Jewish people have had this problem before with Tzdokim, Essenes, Karites, etc. The remnant of true Yisrael is eternal.

R' Amsalem said...

Yaak: You wrote:

R' Amsalem [talking to the commenter by that name], just FYI, Shas IS talking to BY. Rav Ovadia slammed no person or any group of people. He is the biggest Oheiv Yisrael in the world. and you ended with...
That's why Rav Ovadia slammed BY.

You contradicted yourself! Unless of course, BY isn't considered "a group of people."

And since BY and Shas are talking, why in the world would the Shas official newspaper continue to slam BY? Could it be that the Shas newspaper isn't bound by the Shas rabbanim? Sounds like R' Ovadiya has some internal slamming to do...(or is it only ok for him to slam BY and not his in-house party?)

I don't think you understand that while R' Ovadia is a tremendous talmid chacham and an ohevi yisrael, his slamming comments aren't interpreted by everyone as harsh love.

yaak said...

Unless of course, BY isn't considered "a group of people."

Yes, that's exactly right. BY is a party and ideology. People think that he was slamming all religious Zionists. Has Veshalom. He was slamming the ideology.

I agree that he has some in-house slamming to do. Do you know he hasn't?

I know that the comments are not interpreted by everyone as harsh love. This is why I'm trying to correct the misinterpretation.

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