The Committee for Appointing Rabbinical Judges on Tuesday chose Rabbi Shlomo
Dichovsky as director of the Rabbinic Courts for four years.
who retired from the Supreme Rabbinic Court two years ago, is a haredi rabbinic
judge who is considered relatively open-minded and progressive, a combination
that enabled the haredi and national-religious members of the committee to agree
on his appointment.
Eight haredi, four Zionist rabbinical judges chosen
Since August of last year, Dichovsky had been
temporarily filling the position, after predecessor Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan was
forced to step down after serving in that capacity for 20 years, because new
government regulations set time limits on the tenure of public
Committee member Otniel Schneller (Kadima) called Dichovsky
“an asset, in his ability to be a bridge between the world of Halacha, without
budging from it, and the general public in need of halachic rulings. Dichovsky’s
rulings are a highly important bonding element keeping us together as one Jewish
The liberal modern Orthodox Ne’emanei Torah Ve’avoda group
praised the choice.
“The willingness of Israel’s senior rabbinic judge
Dichovsky to deal with the [inner workings] of the rabbinic courts will improve
their status and functioning. Such a scholar will undoubtedly not
Attorney Batya Kahana- Dror, director of the Mavoi Satum
organization, which works for the rights of women who have been refused divorces
by their husbands, said, “in his 22 years as rabbinic judge, Dichovsky
acknowledged the suffering of women refused a Jewish divorce, and did not
hesitate to force recalcitrant husbands to give a get [Jewish
divorce]. We hope his methods and way will set the tone in the rabbinic
courts and lead them to a moderate path that is appropriate to Israeli
Another issue awaiting the committee’s decision is the
appointment of three rabbinic judges to the Supreme Rabbinic Court. The 10
committee members, six haredi and four national-religious, have time and again
failed to agree on the identity of the judges, and no resolutions were reached
in Tuesday’s meeting.