The Chief Rabbinate Rabbinical Council will complete its term this rosh chodesh Tammuz, in about three weeks, which will leave yet another major void in the state’s religious services.
It appears that no one in the Rabbinate or the Ministry of Religious Services is making a move towards elections, which are necessary to elect a new council. As a result, the body will for all practical purposes cease to exist. The council has many responsibilities, including granting rabbinical ordination, overseeing kashrus standards, overseeing the cities chief rabbis and defining the character and standards of many of the nation’s religious services.
In actuality, the council’s mandate expired in Shvat, but Shas acted and was able to obtain a Knesset majority which extended the mandate until Tammuz. Now, it appears the dozens of rabbis who sit on the council will be heading home for summer vacation, shutting down the governing body of the nation’s religious services.
A five-member committee has been established to move elections along in an expeditious fashion, but this does not seem to be happening. It seems that in three weeks, the council will cease to function and the question is who will pay the price?
Candidates awaiting simcha (rabbinical ordination) will find themselves without an address, as will candidates for the position of the rabbi of a city or municipality. Some believe the move is intentional to push off the election for a new Jerusalem chief rabbi, which carries its own share of political baggage and disagreement.
To further complicate matters, at the end of Tammuz, the Knesset will break for summer recess and then comes Tishrei and the Yomim Tovim. The delay will impact religious councils around the country as well as scheduled and/or upcoming appointments.
According to a Mishpacha Magazine report, the chief rabbis and their assistants are not losing sleep over the matter and at the end of the day; it appears the council is heading for an open-ended summer break.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)