Israel Needs Multiple Chief Rabbis

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In a month or so, 150 rabbis and representatives of the public are set to vote on the future of Israel’s rabbinate – ostensibly choosing between maintaining the current status quo, or opting for a more open-minded and publicly sensitive Orthodox leader.

More than any other institution in modern Israel, the Rabbinate is the product of a short-sighted and debased deal between the country’s Jewish religious and secular citizens to define the relationship between state and religion within Israeli society. When the state was founded, there were predominantly two Jewish denominations in Israel – religious and secular, with secular interchangeable with the category of non-religious. Since Judaism is a religion, the meaning of this duality was that Israeli society was divided between those who cared about Judaism and those who did not, those for whom being Jewish was a religious identity, and those for whom being Jewish, or in certain cases Israeli, was a national identity.

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Posted by on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013. Filed under Jewish News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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