secular marriage (dont use).
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The religious-Zionist rabbinical group Tzohar, which provides rabbis free of charge to perform weddings, announced on Tuesday that it has succeeded in gaining approval from the Council of the Chief Rabbinate to conduct wedding ceremonies.
Executive Vice-President of Tzohar, Nachman Rosenberg, said that Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar in particular was critical to advancing the necessary changes for this reform.
“Tzohar praises this decision and especially the work of Rabbi Amar in succeeding to bring about this dramatic change, despite the opposition of some of the extremists on the Council of the Chief Rabbinate who oppose us,” Rosenberg told The Jerusalem Post
“Rabbi Amar’s efforts will help many young people and allow them to marry in a Jewish wedding and not run away to get married in civil ceremony in Cyprus,” he added.
Tzohar established a project in 1996 to reach out to secular Israelis
who had negative experiences with the Chief Rabbinate and provide them
with the opportunity to have a rabbi more sympathetic to their level of
religious observance marry them without charge or expectation of any
other kind of remuneration.
According to Rosenberg, this led the rabbinate to enact a series of
restrictions making it virtually impossible for a rabbi to marry a
couple who registered for marriage in a particular city without the
permission of the rabbinate of that specific city or a rabbi on the
Chief Rabbinate’s payroll.
Opponents of Tzohar claim that the group is too lenient regarding the
numerous Jewish laws surrounding marriage ceremonies, and so rabbis from
the organization would invariably be refused a license to perform
On Sunday, the Council of the Chief Rabbinate decided to remove its
restrictions and will now instruct local rabbinates and rabbis to permit
Tzohar rabbis to perform wedding ceremonies as long as they supply
proof of their rabbinic ordination, demonstrate knowledge of the laws of
marriage, and currently serve as a rabbi or teacher.
Due to a number of exceptions and ongoing pressure, Tzohar has
nevertheless managed to perform 3,000 weddings a year, approximately 20%
of all secular weddings.
“There’s no reason why Zionist rabbis in Israel should have to fight so
hard to help secular couples interested in a Jewish wedding to get
married,” Rosenberg said.
“We hope that this victory will help thousands of secular Jews to get
married according to Jewish law and allow many other rabbis to volunteer
for Tzohar to further this goal.”
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