Founder of private kashrut supervision to be honored

Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz will receive the Yashrut 'Game Changer' Leadership Award.

May 12, 2019 16:36
1 minute read.
Kosher certification

Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz and Baker’s Boulangerie and Patisserie owner Lior Glickman sign the ‘trust alliance’ certification.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz, the founder of two pioneering organizations which have challenged the monopoly of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel over kashrut supervision and Jewish weddings, will be honored with the Yashrut "Game Changer" Leadership Award at the end of the month in Jerusalem.

Founded in 2012, Hashgacha Pratit provides private supervision to restaurants that abide by Orthodox Jewish laws but wish to find an alternative solution to the Chief Rabbinate.

The Chief Rabbinate is a legal and administrative authority that has exclusive jurisdiction over major aspects of Jewish life in Israel, including marriage, kashrut and conversions. Its monopoly over these key sectors – as well as an attitude that is denounced by many as unwelcoming, unnecessary stringent and at times even corrupt – creates a deep dissatisfaction among broad parts of the Israeli public.

In 2018, Hashgacha Pratit was handed over to a new supervision program launched by the organization Tzohar, which for over twenty years had been active in providing an alternative to the Chief Rabbinate in the realm of life-cycle events.

Leibowitz has since focused on a new venture, Chuppot, with the goal of providing a new framework for Orthodox marriage in Israel.

“No grassroots leader is accomplishing so much to change the image and reality of life in Israel in those areas where religion impacts upon the wider community as Rav Aaron,” said Yashrut’s founder Rabbi Daniel Landes. “One cannot get more basic than food and marriage, areas over-controlled to the detriment of both by the religious establishment. Rav Aaron is dramatically changing that picture for the better on a daily basis.”

A student and ordained by the late famed American Modern Orthodox Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Landes led the Pardes Institute of Jewish studies in Jerusalem and taught its senior Talmud class for over 20 years.

In 2018, he founded Yashrut, an international study center based in Jerusalem dedicated to building civil discourse through a theology of integrity, justice and tolerance, with a rabbinical program open to both men and women at the heart of its activity.

Rabbi Leibowitz will be presented the award at the 2019 Rabbinic Ordination Ceremony of Yashrut at the Jerusalem Theater on May 26, 2019.

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