(PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Dovid Lau Shlita, met on Tuesday, 17 Tammuz with Rabbi Yehoshua Fass in order to formally apologize for the inclusion of Rabbi Fass’ name on an unauthorized list published by the Chief Rabbinate earlier this week. The list includes names of Diaspora Rabbis whose authority has been allegedly questioned by the Chief Rabbinate with regards to verifying Jewish identity.
Rabbi Lau expressed his apologies to Rabbi Fass and explained that he was not aware of the existence of this list and certainly not of its publication, and that it was released without his consent. “I regret that this incident may have called your reputation into question. The Chief Rabbinate recognizes and appreciates you as a Rabbi and all that you have done for the Jewish people.” Chief Rabbi Lau added that he has ordered a thorough investigation into the matter.
Rabbi Fass, who co-founded Nefesh Nefesh, which has assisted over 50,000 Olim to Israel over the past 15 years, said after the meeting: “The Rabbinate should serve as a shining example of unity and connectivity within Judaism and promote its positive values in order to bridge any divides and prevent Sinas Chinam.” In addition, Rabbi Fass expressed his sincerest hope that this matter will be resolved immediately, and that a healing process will begin to develop between the Chief Rabbinate and Rabbinic leaders across the world.
Below is the translation of the letter sent by the Chief Rabbinate to Rabbi Fass.
10 July, 2017
To: Rabbi Yehoshua Fass Shlita
Executive Director of “Nefesh B’Nefesh”
Over these last few days, a clerk in the office of the Chief Rabbinate publicized, of his own personal accord, a list of unapproved documents.
When HaRav HaGaon Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau Shlita was made aware of this list, he immediately asked me to protest with the utmost fervor the assault on these Rabbis, and notify that this document did not receive his approval, nor did he know anything at all about it.
In his name, I approached the Director-General of the Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Moshe Dagan, to thoroughly investigate this conduct.
In explaining this document, we were told that the intent was not to reject these Rabbis, G-d forbid, but rather that certain documents that reached him had questions surrounding them and uncertainties regarding them. Some were suspected of being forged, and others due to other elements found in them.
Chief Rabbi Lau is saddened that this document impugned your good name, and therefore has asked me to inform you that this document is in no way, G-d forbid, a rejection of you. The Chief Rabbi very much values all your endeavors, and has instructed all those involved in this matter to act accordingly.
Rabbi Raphael Frank
Senior Advisor to the Chief Rabbi
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photo credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh)