Schneller calls for ways to fire unsuitable rabbis

State comptroller says neighborhood rabbis need duties defined, election procedures ratified, and work ties with city rabbis laid out.

March 2, 2011 02:05
2 minute read.
Otniel Schneller 311

Otniel Schneller 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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There should be a way to dismiss neighborhood rabbis who do not adequately serve their communities, Kadima MK Otniel Schneller said Tuesday, during a State Control Committee follow-up discussion on a recent scathing State Comptroller’s Report. Tuesday’s meeting was the third in recent months on the ramifications of the state comptroller’s findings, which stressed the need to define the duties of a neighborhood rabbi, the procedure of electing one, and how their work ties in with that of synagogue rabbis and city rabbis.

The report also called for these rabbis’ vacation days to be regulated and reported. Schneller praised the work of the Religious Services Ministry in consolidating recommendations and procedures to address the shortcomings, and noted the importance of the input of the Chief Rabbinical Council. He also called on the Finance Ministry to raise the salary of neighborhood rabbis, and said it was “a disgrace that a rabbi with 40 years seniority only makes NIS 10,000 a month – if he gets his paycheck on time.”

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Schneller also noted that alongside the important points raised in the State Comptroller’s Report, sanctions should be introduced for rabbis who do not suit their community, or who are not functioning in a satisfactory manner. There is currently no way to fire a neighborhood rabbi.

The committee will convene again in May, Schneller said, when the report being drawn up by the ministry will have been completed to include the feedback from the Chief Rabbinate. That session will discuss three central aspects of the topic – the appointment, function, and conditions of neighborhood rabbis.

At the conclusion of the committee meeting, Schneller used the platform to issue a warning to Chief Rabbinate Director- General Oded Wiener on an entirely different topic: the ongoing delay in marking the tests for rabbinic judge candidates that the Chief Rabbinate conducted months ago.

“The tests are lying in boxes for four months already, waiting to be checked,” he said, noting that Wiener had assured members of the Knesset that the results would be available in no more than three months.

“If this matter is not resolved in a week, I will ask the Civil Service Commission to immediately fire [Wiener] or the person in charge of the testing,” Schneller said.

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