Jerusalem’s Rabbinate Race Long from Over


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ovadia1.jpgThe pressure is on for Jerusalem’s new mayor, Nir Barkat, who is now expected to make good on campaign and coalition promises regarding the appointment of a new chief rabbi of the capital.

It appears the now-defunct National Religious Party did indeed make a deal with Barkat in exchange for the party’s support for his campaign and the leaders of the dati leumi community are now calling on him to move the process along towards the appointment of their candidate.

Shas is also pushing for the appointment of a Sephardic chief rabbi of the city, and according to reports from Shas; this is a part of the coalition recently signed with the mayor which resulted in Shas joining the Jerusalem coalition government. Shas is pushing for the appointment of a son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Shlita.

Other candidates include a son of Rav Yisrael Meir Lau Shlita, who is also working to enlist support of the dati leumi community, and who has already received the support of a number of admorim and Gedolei Torah.

Some of the candidates who have decided to drop out of the race include Rav Yosef Efrati Shlita and Rav Asher Weiss Shlita, but the name Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman Shlita of Migdal Ha’emek is still active and it appears the rav may indeed contemplate moving to Yerushalayim after decades of shlichus in Migdal Ha’emek.

The mayor cannot appoint the rabbi alone, but has a significant amount of power to push the process ahead, or if he chooses, to delay meetings and appointment process stages. The appointment forum includes politicians, rabbis and members of the Chief Rabbinate. The body is expected to meet sometime in the coming month but this will depend greatly on the realities surrounding support of any of the candidates.

The positions of chief rabbi of the capital, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, have been vacant for a number of years and some believe this is a major contributory factor to the deterioration of kashrus in the capital over recent years, with unauthorized kashrus agencies succeeding in making major inroads into the local marketplace.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel


  1. Shas is pushing for the appointment of a son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Shlita.—predictible, isnt it?

    Rav Lau’s son will garnish support of the dati leumi, chardal and charedei groups and will be the annointed one. (you will see)