Law passed in Knesset banning rabbis from charging money for conducting weddings

Several haredi MKs have opposed the law arguing that it prevents public workers from supplementing their wages.

By
November 4, 2014 17:41
2 minute read.
An Ultra-orthodox Jewish

An Ultra-orthodox couple at their wedding in Bnei Brak.. (photo credit: ILLUSTRATIVE: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A bill proposed by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) to prevent municipal rabbis from charging couples for performing their wedding ceremonies was passed into law on Monday night.

Currently, rabbis working in the district of a particular religious council, from which they receive a salary, are able to charge money from couples for performing their wedding even if one of the spouses lives in the district. The current law does prevent a rabbi from charging couples for this service if one of the spouses lives in his specific neighborhood, but not if they live in the broader area covered by the religious council which pays his salary.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Moalem explained that the reasoning behind the new law was to help young couples who are unaware of their rights within the religious bureaucracy, and would particularly benefit nonreligious couples who do not have a close relationship with any particular rabbi.

“The proposed law focuses on those couples that encounter the rabbinical world almost for the first time in their lives on the special day on which they wish to enter into marriage under the wedding canopy,” she said, before the Knesset approved the legislation.

The law will ban state-employed rabbis from charging money for performing weddings, and requests that guidelines be drawn up by the religious services minister, in consultation with the president of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate (currently Chief Rabbi David Lau, and with the approval of the Interior Ministry, to determine the exact parameters of the new regulations, including in which geographic area they must provide a free wedding service.

If a rabbi is asked to perform a wedding ceremony in a private capacity outside of his geographic jurisdiction for a fee, he must receive permission to do so, with a maximum charge to be determined by the religious services minister.

Any rabbi who takes money or a gift for conducting a wedding in contravention of the new guidelines will be subject to disciplinary procedures.



Additionally, information regarding the rights of couples to have a state-employed rabbi perform their wedding without charge must be posted prominently in marriage registration offices.

Several haredi lawmakers have opposed the legislation, arguing that it prevents public workers from supplementing their wages.

Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev said on Monday that the law disparaged state-employed rabbis and assumed they were out to make money.

“The trend behind this law is to say ‘Look, rabbis take money.’ This is a framework of slander; rabbis don’t demand or charge money,” he claimed.

Moalem defended the measure, saying that it was an important step to reduce alienation of the nonreligious public from the religious establishment.

“This law is designed for the secular public who want to get married in accordance with Jewish law,” said Moalem in response.

“As long as you support rabbis who take money, we will find ourselves with fewer and fewer marriages conducted according to Jewish law. The couples already pay marriage registration charges, there is absolutely no reason to take more money from them,” the MK concluded.

Related Content

July 16, 2018
Episode 6: The Kamionskis tackle Aliyah paperwork to the Jewish Agency

By THE KAMIONSKI FAMILY