Monday, March 28, 2011

News: Religious Services Minister Calls for Bill to Outlaw Non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel

Here's a news story for you: Margi Calls for Law Against Non-Orthodox Movements. Just to be clear, no bill exists at this time.

To give you the general idea, "To strengthen its status, Margi called for legislation making the Chief Rabbinate the supreme rabbinical institution in Israel and the world, and wants to move the rabbinate under the ministerial authority of the Religious Services Ministry instead of the Prime Minister’s Office."


  1. The tighter you close your grasp, the more Jews will slip through your fingers, Rabbi Vader.

  2. Seriously. Keep it classy, Rabbi Margi!

    I find it sort of sad (though not entirely surprising) that he would apparently rather have people be completely, one hundred percent secular and not engage with Judaism at all than practice any form of Judaism that doesn't have his seal of approval. And, of course, there's the slippery slope: who gets to decide what constitutes Orthodoxy? Oh, sure, they'll say that MO folks are Orthodox enough now, but what happens when someone ends up in the Chief Rabbi's seat who doesn't think MO people are frum enough? Have a women's tefilah group at your synagogue? Not Orthodox. Don't eat one hundred percent glatt kosher? Don't let the door hit you on the way out! All it takes is another swing to the right, another case of rabbinical infighting, and you end up with the conversion invalidation crisis all over again. It depresses me to see the burning desire some members of the Israeli rabbinate seem to have to turn themselves into some kind of a self-styled Jewish papacy.

    I also don't see many Jews of non-Orthodox streams in the diaspora being very likely to continue giving political, financial and other support to Israel if the rabbinate literally outlaws their denominations.

  3. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    I wouldn't get too excited about anything an MK "says" for good or for ill. Mergi doesn't know much about Diaspora Jewry, beyond that non-Orthodox groups do things counter to halacha, according to the observations of people from whom he has heard. Get the picture?

    Furthermore, Mergi's ability to enact such legislation, which is a far, far different thing from using it to whip up emotions among those who agree with him. There re a LOT of Israelis for whom getting into a political frenzy serves the same purpose as a revival meeting among Christian fundamentalists. They enjoy the emotional sensations and the reinforcement of their feelings of belonging.

    I've been watching this nonsense for over 25 years. They do these things every so often. It rarely changes anything.