This week has seen some more shameful news from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which has a “blacklist” of rabbis from all denominations who have been deemed unworthy as authentic arbiters of Jewish status. With all the issues that Israel faces, it is so sad and appalling that we have to face the constant attempts to undermine any diverse Jewish voices in the Jewish state and to erode any hope of pluralism. I am including the statement issued by the Rabbinical Assembly, my professional organization, as I think its message is extremely important.
We have just began the three weeks period of mourning that culminates with Tisha B’Av commemorating the destruction of our holy temples in Jerusalem. The rabbis of the Talmud are clear that the force that destroyed the second temple was sinat hinam, causeless hatred between Jew and Jew, and in this very week, we learn of this disgraceful conduct from the religious leadership of the Jewish State.
May the forces of tolerance and love help us rebuild all this brokenness.
The Rabbinical Assembly, in noting its many colleagues among the 160 rabbis blacklisted by the Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel, who are deemed ineligible to authenticate the Jewishness of their congregants and community members, proudly stands by its rabbis on the list. Together with outstanding rabbis emanating from Reform and Orthodox communities, they reflect the finest in rabbinic leadership and strengthen those they lead in commitment to Jewish life and in relentless support of the State of Israel. This “blacklist” is far less a reflection on the esteemed rabbis it names, inasmuch as it further diminishes the stature of the Chief Rabbinate in its continued actions that sew division and discord among Jews world-wide, and in particular, between Israel and the diaspora.
Following so closely the abandonment of the Kotel compromise and the divisive conversion bill, these painful actions lead the Rabbinical Assembly to call upon the government of the State of Israel to take the necessary steps to expunge “sinat hinam,” (unnecessary enmity between fellow Jews), from State authorities and agencies, and to reaffirm, in positive and concrete ways, the connection between all streams of Jewish religious life and the State of Israel that we so cherish.
President, Rabbinical Assembly
Chief Executive Officer, Rabbinical Assembly