Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Stern Told He Has Reached Retirement Age


sternThe head of the Jerusalem Religious Council, Yehoshua Yishai, sent a letter to the city’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern Shlita, informing him that he is sorry that his tenure is so short but being that he has reached his 70th birthday, he must step down. Yishai has been heading the council in his capacity as acting head, appointed as the head of the committee which took over operations in the absence of chief rabbis in the city.

The letter states that during a routine check in advance of paying monthly salaries it was realized that in November the rabbi turned 70 on November 27th.

Yishai reminds Rabbi Stern of the law, which states clearly that a rabbi of a city may not continue in his capacity once he has reached his 70th birthday unless the Chief Rabbinate of Israel grants an extension, which did not occur in this case.

It is reported that while Yishai is correct, it is a technical matter and the Chief Rabbinate Council is expected to announce it is extending Rabbi Stern’s term. Shortly after the letter was delivered to Rabbi Stern, Secretary of the Chief Rabbinate Council Rabbi Refael Frank polled the rabbonim on the council by phone asking to extend Rabbi Stern’s term for five years. He thereby resolved the matter and returned Rabbi Stern from retirement.


(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. It sounds pretty silly to send someone a letter essentially dismissing them, knowing there’s a good chance that in practice it won’t happen because of these exceptions. I like the idea of having age limits (the sanhedrin itself had something similar), but the way this happened is quite silly.

  2. Unlike the US which has laws against discriminating against people who are “too old”, Israel has laws requiring such discrimination (mandatory retirement).