CHIEF RABBI Yona Metzger 370.
(photo credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Jerusalem is facing a possible kashrut crisis due to the investigation into
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, and his decision to recuse himself from all
official duties until the investigation is concluded.
As first reported
by Army Radio, Metzger is the legally designated official for authorizing
kashrut licenses in Jerusalem since there is currently no chief municipal rabbi
for the city.
This presents a potential problem for any new
establishments seeking to gain a kashrut license due to Metzger’s recusal from
his duties as chief rabbi.
The Council of the Chief Rabbinate was
supposed to convene on Monday in order to discuss various issues, including the
appointment of someone who could replace Metzger as the kashrut license
authority for Jerusalem.
The meeting did not take place, however, as at
least eight of the 15 council members said they could not attend, meaning it was
impossible to form the majority required to take decisions.
said that the meeting was called off due to requests by several council members
to postpone owing to personal reasons.
Yet reports in the haredi media
accused Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar of seeking to make several appointments
within the rabbinate that were opposed by some of the council members, who
therefore refused to attend a meeting.
The rabbinate said that such
claims were completely false, also stating that Metzger is still able to
authorize kashrut licenses for new establishments if the situation
What is more problematic is the situation after July 24, when the
new chief rabbis will be elected – because of the upcoming expiration date of
all currently valid kashrut licenses immediately before Rosh Hashana on
The Council of the Chief Rabbinate is the only body
authorized to designate a kashrut licensing authority for Jerusalem, but owing
to the politically charged nature of the current election campaign for the
incoming chief rabbis, the rabbinate is concerned that if legal proceedings are
initiated by a losing candidate, or if civil rights activist groups file High
Court of Justice petitions against a winning candidate for past misdemeanors, a
new official for kashrut licensing will not be appointed in time.
could possibly create chaos for the hundreds of kosher establishments throughout
One possibility could be for the rabbinate’s Department for
National Kashrut to renew the licenses, though this is not necessarily possible
from a legal standpoint.