For the first time in a century, the Holy Land has no chief rabbi

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Religion

(RNS) — In a historic moment, Israel’s two chief rabbis, David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, left office on Sunday with no clear successors elected in their stead, leaving the posts vacant for the first time since the 1920s. Last week, the pair closed out what were supposed to be 10-year terms that had been extended a year due to internal politicking that has repeatedly delayed the election of their replacements by the 150-member council of rabbis and public officials.
A department of the Israeli government, the Rabbinate has sweeping power over many facets of Israeli life, mostly those that intersect with Jewish ritual and law, such as marriage, divorce, conversion and more. 
The system is led by two chief rabbis, one Ashkenazi, representing Jews of Eastern and Central Europe heritage, and one Sephardic, representing Jews with backgrounds in the Middle East and North Africa. The structure predates the state of Israel, with the Sephardic position having been established under the Ottomans and the Ashkenazi rabbi under the British. 

In recent decades the Rabbinate’s popularity has plunged among much of the Israeli public, with many viewing the office as a haven of mismanagement, corruption and nepotism, and dominated by Israel’s Haredi minority. It is accused of being out of touch with the general public, including even other religious Jews. 
The current debacle is in part the result of a battle between the Rabbinate and Israel’s Supreme Co …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn(RNS) — In a historic moment, Israel’s two chief rabbis, David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, left office on Sunday with no clear successors elected in their stead, leaving the posts vacant for the first time since the 1920s. Last week, the pair closed out what were supposed to be 10-year terms that had been extended a year due to internal politicking that has repeatedly delayed the election of their replacements by the 150-member council of rabbis and public officials.
A department of the Israeli government, the Rabbinate has sweeping power over many facets of Israeli life, mostly those that intersect with Jewish ritual and law, such as marriage, divorce, conversion and more. 
The system is led by two chief rabbis, one Ashkenazi, representing Jews of Eastern and Central Europe heritage, and one Sephardic, representing Jews with backgrounds in the Middle East and North Africa. The structure predates the state of Israel, with the Sephardic position having been established under the Ottomans and the Ashkenazi rabbi under the British. 

In recent decades the Rabbinate’s popularity has plunged among much of the Israeli public, with many viewing the office as a haven of mismanagement, corruption and nepotism, and dominated by Israel’s Haredi minority. It is accused of being out of touch with the general public, including even other religious Jews. 
The current debacle is in part the result of a battle between the Rabbinate and Israel’s Supreme Co …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]

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