Sharansky speaking 370.
(photo credit: Sam Sokol)
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky has joined the controversy surrounding
the recent rejection by the Chief Rabbinate of the rabbinic credentials of US
Rabbi Avi Weiss, calling the decision “absurd.”
In October, the rabbinate
refused to authorize Weiss, a respected Orthodox rabbi from New York, to give
testimony on the Jewish and marital status of former congregants wishing to
register for marriage in Israel.
“Rabbi Avi Weiss is a prominent leader
of the Modern Orthodox Jewish world. By his teachings and his personal example,
he has inspired and raised generations of Jews in the spirit of kol yisra’el
arevim zeh la-zeh (the principle that all Jews are responsible for one another)
and with a deep commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said
Sharansky in a statement to the press.
“Rabbi Weiss’s commitment and
integrity are beyond reproach, which is why I find the ongoing discussion about
his rabbinic credentials absurd,” he continued. He added that the Jewish Agency
and its emissaries would “continue to honor Rabbi Weiss’s certifications and
recommendations, as we have been proud to do up until now.”
the Ministry of the Interior must consult with the Jewish Agency when
determining whether an Orthodox convert from outside Israel is eligible for
immigration under the Law of Return.
Although Weiss’s case is the most
prominent, several organizations have alleged that the Chief Rabbinate in recent
years has rejected the rabbinic credentials of increasing numbers of foreign
rabbis, particularly in the US, and that the problem is becoming
The Chief Rabbinate is currently in discussions with the
Rabbinical Council of America, an Orthodox association of rabbis, to resolve the
Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, the representative of the RCA in Israel,
told The Jerusalem Post
that discussions have been extremely positive and that
the two sides are close to an agreement. He said a deal should be signed within