American Rabbi Avi Weiss is a hero for the Jewish people. The man is someone who has sacrificed all of his life for the benefit of Am Israel – from Soviet Jewry to Kiruv, battling Anti-Semitism to building one of the most vibrant American Jewish congregations. The New York Rabbi is one of the most well-known and most-influential American Orthodox Rabbis for very many years.
Yet, tonight, The Jewish Week is reporting that the (Haredi) Israeli Chief Rabbinate will not recognize the letters of numerous Modern Orthodox American Rabbis (including Avi Weiss) vouching to the “Jewishness and single status of an American Jewish couple wishing to marry in Israel.” Reports indicate that… “Rabbi Weiss is not registered for the purposes of certifying Jewishness and single status for people who are born Jewish.” Apparently, in the last six months, about 10 different Orthodox Rabbis letters have been rejected on matters regarding marriage in Israel.
Who are these Israeli Rabbis to question Orthodox American Rabbis about their community? Do they call the American “Rabbi” hotline to check if Mordechai was really bar mitzvahed 35 years ago? The word of an American Orthodox community Rabbi is being questioned by a Rabbi in Israel? A Rabbi somewhere in Mea Shearim will decide if an Orthodox Zionist Rabbi in America can write a letter for a Jew whom they know all their lives? Orthodox Rabbis in America will not be recognized by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate – How dare they? Shameful.
If any Orthodox American organization is sanctioning this with the Chief Rabbinate they, too should be ashamed. Who are they to question another Orthodox Rabbis’ letters? Absurd would be a nice way of responding. Notably, child molesters, crooks and plenty of other awful Rabbis are still recognized. There has not been any complaining from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate about lunatic “Rabbis” who steal bodies, attack Israeli policemen or steal and cheat.
Rabbi Avi Weiss has done tremendous work for hundreds of thousands of Jews all over the world in stirring Jewish consciousness, passion and excitement. He is for many, the very epitome of Judaism, of humanity, of decency, of holiness. A product of Brooklyn yeshivas, his Modern Orthodox Synagogue has more than 850 families. Rabbi Avi Weiss is a real, authentic Jewish hero who has changed the face of Jewish history and impacted so many and indeed so much in Jewish life worldwide. He fights every single day to connect Jews to Judaism. And somehow his word isn’t good enough?
Orthodox Rabbis run synagogues and impact Jewish lives in America. How can alienating entire Orthodox communities possibly be good for Judaism? Can anyone in their right mind think this is good for the Jewish people? For American Jewish-Israeli relations? This will bring Jews closer to mitzvahs? Or to Judaism?
Shame on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.