Importing American-like Synagogues to Israel
Q: Isn’t the role of the rabbi in the US and Israel completely different? How can you draw on experience from the US and teach Israelis?
A: There is a common misconception among Israelis that the role of the rabbi is limited to that of “religious service provider.” It is perhaps due to this false impression that Israeli society currently suffers from identity and leadership crises, and the installment of strong spiritual leaders and guides has become essential to its survival. We believe that if the rabbi of every Israeli community would serve as its central religious and leadership personality, these communities would become cohesive groups that would benefit from more meaningful religious experiences. As the heart of the community, the rabbi would offer support during difficult times, provide guidance and leadership pertaining to matters of ethics and public action, and endow the community with a sense of direction and unity of purpose. What I have outlined above is by no means a pipe dream. Rather, it is the reality in almost every Jewish community across the U.S. Bolstered by Yeshiva University’s extensive experience in the cultivation and support of Jewish communities in North America, our initiative aims to draw from these successes and incorporate strong leaders into communities across Israel.
See here for the full interview.