Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Reflections From a Rabbinical Student in Israel

This week in Jewcy, our partner site

Print Email

I do not want the State of Israel to consider me a rabbi.

To be fair, at the moment, no one should call me a rabbi; I still have a few years of studies before I will be ordained at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. However, even after my ordination, I do not want the government to judge my worthiness to be a religious leader. I would much prefer the government worry about issues other than the way its citizens connect to God, spirituality, and halacha.

Instead, I would prefer the government worry about the services it provides its citizens, such as national defense, infrastructure, and education. The state provides a number of social services, such as health care, funerals, and even weddings, and it is precisely for this reason that I am so glad that the state has decided to fund non-Orthodox rabbis.

Maintaining a practice that goes back to the Ottoman period, Israel recognizes a number of religions that it then funds to provide certain services. These services, in turn, can only be provided by a religious body. As a result, two Catholics who wish to marry must do so via a state-recognized priest, while two Jews who wish to marry must do so via a state-recognized rabbi, who is always Orthodox. The system has a number of flaws, most seriously in that it does not allow someone who is not recognized as a member of any of these religions to marry at all, a particularly common problem among some immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not recognized as Jewish by Orthodox halacha. In addition, the system forces one who wishes to get married, apparently considered a civil right by the state, to adhere to a certain religious standard when doing so.

Read the rest at Jewcy.com

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Reflections From a Rabbinical Student in Israel

This week in Jewcy, our partner site

More on Tablet:

Wolf Blitzer Explores His Jewish Roots

By David Meir Grossman — CNN host visits Yad Vashem and Auschwitz for the network’s ‘Roots’ series