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Will Tzohar Run a Candidate for Chief Rabbi of Israel

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The Israeli religious-zionist rabbinic organization Tzohar has begun a campaign (see here for the booklet) calling for changes in policies and spirit of the Chief Rabbinate. (Ynet) Among the platforms that they are calling for are the appointment of rabbinical court judges who actually decide according to what the Chief Rabbis decide, support for a prenuptial agreement, the encouragement of converting people who are the offspring of Jews who have assimilated, and the use of the heter mechira during the sabbatical year. They are also calling for the establishment of a special beit midrash that will discuss issues relating to religion and state. Did I forget to say that they also have a Facebook app?

Many people see this as the first steps in the process of running a candidate for the office of Chief Rabbi. On the local level there has apparently been some coordination between national-religious rabbis and Shas, something that they are hoping to expand to national scene.

I can’t say that I am so thrilled that anybody will be a chief rabbi, but since the office is not going away, a Tzohar candidate might be a breath of fresh air.

7 Responses to “Will Tzohar Run a Candidate for Chief Rabbi of Israel”

  1. 1
    DF:

    With you on the heter mechirah.
    Dont see why we need encoruagement for children of assimilated Jews to convert. Why do you think this important?
    Supporting pre-nups is a bad idea, and will lose them support. [If they support the right of someone who wants to use a prenup to do so, that I see no problem with. Nor do I see anything stopping such people from using prenups even today/]

  2. 2
    Menachem Mendel:

    The people whom they want to convert are those who have Jewish ancestry, but aren’t halakhic Jews. On what basis do you think that there support of pre-nups will cost them support? At present, I think that you would be hard pressed to find a rabbinate approved rabbi who will allow a couple to use a pre-nup.

  3. 3
    Yitzhak:

    ” I think that you would be hard pressed to find a rabbinate approved rabbi who will allow a couple to use a pre-nup.”

    Really? R. Z. N. Goldberg famously approves of (and helped draft), a pre-nup, and various other distinguised Israeli dayanim apparently approve, too:

    http://theprenup.org/rabbinic.html

  4. 4
    Menachem Mendel:

    Yitzhak,

    Even though Rabbi Z.N. Goldberg supports it, there is much opposition to its use. The Council of Young Israel Rabbis has a prenup (here) and there is another one here, but I still think that most Rabbanut rabbis would frown upon its use. I hope that I am wrong. You can read some opponents here and here.

  5. 5
    DF:

    I dont know enough about the conversion issue. Seems to me it would make them appear to be pushing religion on people, when every other part of their platform is exactly the opposite.

    I think supporting prenups will cost them support because I dont see any groundswell of support for it anywhere. To the contrary, there is both hlachic opposition to it (in that it may be, or may lead to, coerced and hence invalid gittin); moral opposition (in that the existence of a pre-nup, in quite a non-subtle way, has the effect of encouraging divorce) and pragmatic opposition ( in that the courts are stacked against the men in divorce cases, and having a pre-nup takes away the one chance the man has of leveling the playing field.) Other than avowedly feminsit groups, I have seen only a relatively few (but loud) left-leaning rabbis and rabbi organizations in favor of it. Unlike reform of the rabbinate, it is not a cause that resounds with the general public.

    [I reiterate that if there currently exists a bar against a prenup, then I would favor removal of that bar for those who want it, as part of libertarian views generally. That is quite different from promoting the use of it, though.]

  6. 6
    Yitzhak:

    DF: R. Willig is by no means a “loud, left-leaning rabbi”, and dismissing the RCA as one of a “relatively few .. left-leaning .. rabbi organizations” is not quite fair, either.

  7. 7
    Benjamin Of Tudela:

    These are not exactly classical pre-nups, in that their major concern isn’t property. Classical prenups (division of property)have to be signed infront of a notary if done before the marriage, and the court if done after the marriage.

    Harav Dikovsky who used to be on the Grand Rabbinical Court wrote an essay supporting (or at least explaining how to write) pre-nups, though only using certain techniques. You can find his essay here – http://www.zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=262&ArticleID=379&Page=1#_Toc182719598 and was in the last techumin.

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