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Efrat Elected Officials Stand Firmly Behind Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

riskinElected officials in Efrat have come out in a strong position of support for the city’s mora d’asra, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin in light of efforts to compel him to step down by not renewing his control. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has signaled they will not renew Rabbi Riskin’s contract. The rav is 75-years-old.

The news of the rabbi’s imminent forced retirement has elicited anger over the rumored decision and support from MK (Yesh Atid) Dr. Aliza Lavie and Rabbi Dr. Yuval Sherlow, both of the opinion that the Chief Rabbinate Council has an agenda – seeking to oust Rabbi Riskin for his at times controversial position on giyur as well as his programs to place women in the forefront of Halacha along with men.

The Efrat Council came out unanimously in support of the rabbi and to permit him to continue serving as the city’s chief rabbi. The local council met on Monday night the eve of 8 Sivan, voting unanimously on extending the rabbi’s tenure.

The rabbi celebrated his 75th birthday a number of weeks ago. Efrat officials point out the rabbi’s age in no way prevents him from walking distances of up to 10 km (6 miles) on Shabbos as he continues his tradition of visiting the different neighborhoods and shuls on Shabbos and Yomtov. Efrat officials’ add the rabbi does not miss an opportunity to give a bracha to any bar mitzvah boy or a couple getting married, walking to any and all shuls to extend his personal greetings to them.

Efrat officials’ also point out that the city council represents 50% of the body that votes for the city’s rabbi and the head of the council has the authority to approve or reject any appointment. The council calls on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Council to heavily weigh into the decision the desire of residents of the city, which has been the minhag throughout the generations.

Rabbi Amnon Bazak of Yeshivat Har Etzion, is calling on the Chief Rabbinate to apologize to Rabbi Riskin and immediately extend his tenure with another five-year contract. He used his Facebook page to express his feelings, that ousting the rabbi because of his position on giyur will ultimately compromise the integrity of the Chief Rabbinate.

Rabbi Bazak adds that a rabbi serving on the Chief Rabbinate Council without objections has been recommended for a criminal indictment by Israel Police for alleged bribery, extortion, breach of trust, and other crimes, adding a rabbi of a city is facing similar charges and while nothing is done to oust these rabbis there are efforts to remove Rabbi Riskin from his position. He states the actions of the Chief Rabbinate to oust Rabbi Riskin are contrary to Torah.

In an interview with Galei Yisrael Radio on Tuesday, 8 Sivan, Rabbi Riskin stated “I respect the Chief Rabbinate of Israel but it should be more pluralistic. I believe the Chief Rabbinate should be one that also accepts important opinions, halachic pluralism, for as long as it remains within the halachic consensus and to open the gates of giyur but it remains to be seen”.

He also stated “I am in favor of the institution of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. I think it is an important one but is must be a Chief Rabbinate of Israel that speaks to all of Am Yisrael and from a halachic standpoint — it must be willing to accept opinions that are not necessarily acceptable to the chareidim”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

15 Responses

  1. The Rabanut should once and for all draw a clear line when is a guy not a Rabbi any more. It’s no longer enough to say “Orthodox”. You gatta be clear that when a guy tramples on traditional Halacha – no more “Rabbi” title, regardless of what the city wants. Let them pay his salary…

  2. Thank you rabeinu46 for your post!
    This riskin miscreant has yet to prove his own qualifications as a rabbi. He seems to more likely fit the mold of a maissis umaidiach! He fights divrei ChaZaL and he is at best a daas yochid. We paaskin Acharei Raabim Lehatois! Just as President Hussein can’t prove his birth as having been on American soil so too this riskin can’t prove his qualifications as a rabbi.

    As for the Efrat population, who do you know that lives there? Almost all the most marginalized of our yidden – left of Mizrachi!

  3. Go to YouTube & search for “rabbi Jesus” see what comes up. & then tell me if this clown deserves to be a rabbi. I’m offended at yeshiva world for calling this guy a rabbi.

  4. Since he is of the opinion of placing women in the forefront of Halacha along with men – he probably wants to ensure that his wife has the job of ‘rav’ of efrat after he dies.
    and as rebeinu said: riskin is NOT a rav,
    he’s an eirev rav

  5. When I first saw this story elsewhere, I figured it was the typical modus operandi of a certain group within the Tzohar organization to engender support for their positions by portraying the Chief Rabbinate as “intolerant” and exhibiting “sinas hinam”(a term that gets thrown around very lightly.). These people use all the forces of the media and internet to get their “message” out and influence the public, a fully modern approach, rather than submitting requests and discussion among the rabbonim, it becomes a media driven popular spin to discussions, that don’t have anything to do with how people “feel”(an emotional reaction), rather than a proper discussion among the proper authorities.
    So, I’d appreciate it if YWN really looks into this story and see if Rabbi Riskin is really being asked to retire or if it is just standard procedure to ask, at this age, for a rabbi to retire and this story is being given a different “spin” in an attempt to influence popular opinion.
    Efrat is a community where a rabbi such as Rabbi Riskin fits in and he is popular there.
    It’s important, among the general rabbinic community, to, as much as possible, limit his influence among the general religious public.

  6. to #2 rabeinu46 says:

    You have a problem with some one who sees life different from yourself. deal with it. RABBI Riskin is very respected in his parts, deal with it.

  7. My dear mr yaapchik,
    First of all, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the term “eilu v’eilu divrei elokim chayim”, but it’s actually a real thing so stop trying to be so halachik. Also, how dare you insult the entire population of one of the biggest Jewish yishuvim in all of eretz yisrael? Your comments and opinions are worse than Rav Riskins by far.

  8. Amazing. Not 4 days after yomtiv and this is how you people are talking about a fellow Jew? He disagrees with your view on halacha so he’s a rasha? And all of the other hateful adjectives that have been used?!! You should all be ashamed of yourselves. We don’t deserve bayis shlishi because of this type of ignorance. This type of hate cancels out the fact that we are the am ha’nivchar. Mamesh a bizayon.

  9. #4 Yaapchik – you realize you have to ask mechila from the 2,000 Jews of Efrat whom you’ve just publicly slandered for no good cause. You should have listened to your rav and gotten off the internet. It’s leading you to sin.

  10. Deservedly so, posters are bashing those who thoughtlessly, in anger, lash out at Rabbi Riskin and the Efrat community.
    Easy pickings???
    Why may I ask do they not also direct their words against those members of the Tzohar organization who organize a media campaign slandering the Chief Rabbinate?
    And for what reason?…Rav Riskin’s supposedly being pushed to retire or is there another agenda?
    Nothing good will come of it if people cannot see their own equally prejudiced view and it is a mitzvah to warn people that there is a strong very liberal minded community in Efrat.(of course, that’s not the whole community but with Rabbi Riskin at the helm, there is that influence.)

  11. I, in my 1st post, requested a more thorough article about this issue.
    It seems that it is not forthcoming (perhaps I’m too impatient.)
    However, one factor that is overlooked is that some Tzohar rabbonim are talking about setting up a separate bais din for conversions. It seems that Rabbi Riskin has come out in favor and will join their efforts.
    It would seem that a rabbi, who is part of the rabbanute, would not be allowed to set up, and belong to, an alternative organization, whether it be for kashrus or conversion, especially if the standards of that organization are less machmir than those of the rabbanute, to which he is employed.
    It seems that he would have to decide which organization he will belong to.
    Rabbi Riskin, in comments elsewhere, hinted at this.

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