Rabbinate fighting non-orthodox 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The office of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar expressed its concern Wednesday
with the impression given by a bill proposed by MK Uri Orbach last
The bill seeks to amend a law pertaining to marriage, which would
legally prevent rabbis from taking money for performing weddings, except for
Orbach proposed the law against the background of the
recent dispute between the religious- Zionist organization Tzohar and the
Religious Services Ministry earlier this month.
Tzohar claims rabbis from
local religious councils illegally charge money for conducting weddings, and the
Religious Services Ministry and the chief rabbinate have sought to stymie
Tzohar’s flagship free wedding service program, to protect the income of rabbis
employed by the religious councils.
In response to Orbach’s bill, Amar’s
office again denied there was any widespread phenomenon of local religious
council rabbis charging money for their services.
“The situation today is
that rabbis from local religious councils do not charge any money for weddings,
apart from travel expenses,” Amar’s office said. “This bill, which will be
brought onto the [public] agenda, gives the erroneous impression that rabbis
have illegally charged money until now.”
Amar’s office said if it became
clear there had been “one or two” instances of rabbis charging money for
conducting weddings, they would be disciplined and, if necessary,
“Certainly, however, one cannot extrapolate from these
individual cases to imply [the same is true] for the entire system, which works
with efficiency and dedication,” his office said. “All legislation that benefits
the public to provide it with the appropriate service and that will improve and
streamline that service without infringing Halacha and its requirements will be