14-year-old petitions High Court for right to be rabbi

After being tested over course of a year by 10 senior rabbis, Moshe Raziel Sharify of Netanya files necessary forms to become rabbi.

MOSHE RAZIEL SHARIFY 311 (photo credit: Rhonda Spivak)
(photo credit: Rhonda Spivak)
A 14-year-old boy petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday to force the Chief Rabbinate to check his ordination exam, so that he may be able to be ordained as a rabbi.
After being tested over the course of a year by 10 senior rabbis, Moshe Raziel Sharify of Netanya had filled the necessary forms and was invited by the Department of Examinations and Certifications of the Chief Rabbinate for the rabbinate’s written exam in July.
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However, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who came to wish the examinees luck, noticed the young face and ordered that his form not be checked and graded in line with the rabbinate’s policy that the minimum age for ordination is 22.
In a preliminary meeting of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate over Sharify’s ordination, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger had been in favor of allowing the young man to become a rabbi. However, as director of Metzger’s office Rabbi Haim Hemdinger told The Jerusalem Post in August, the chief Ashkenazi rabbi’s opinion did not win out, with Amar leading the opposition.
All the same, the invitation for the exam was sent to Sharify, but according to sources in the rabbinate, only out of the desire to encourage his exceptional skills and ambition, without the intent to actually consider his candidacy. The rabbinate later said that the invitation was a mistake.
Following the incident, Sharify’s father Nissan, who has a doctorate in law, said he would petition the High Court of Justice to have his son’s examination marked and counted, like the examinations of all other candidates.
On Sunday the court received the petition, filed by Nissan and his firm, which demanded that the young Sharify’s test be checked, and to overrule the rabbinate’s policy that determines 22 as the minimum age for ordination, or at least to order the forming of a committee to examine exceptions to the rule.