Jul 24, 2013
The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest organization of Orthodox rabbis in North America, congratulates Rav David Lau on his election as Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Rav Yitzchak Yosef on his election as Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. Both Rav Lau and Rav Yosef are accomplished Torah scholars and men whose ways are those of pleasantness and peace.
This once-in-a-decade election was shaped by calls for a more user-friendly rabbinate, which by law has authority over many areas that affect the lives of all Jews in Israel, regardless of their religious observance. Rabbi Leonard Matanky, RCA President, stated, “Decades ago, Orthodoxy in the United States was a small minority, thought to be on the verge of extinction. Today, looking at the youngest cohort measured by polls, Orthodoxy is the largest group. Traditional Judaism regained its significance through education and persuasion, not by coercion. We have worked closely with the Chief Rabbinate for decades on matters of Jewish law; we hope we can share some of our experiences with our colleagues in Israel as they try to move the hearts and minds of our Israeli brothers and sisters.”
Rabbi Shalom Baum, Vice President of the RCA, added, “Israel is a strong, stable democracy in a region roiled by chaos in large part because of the identification of most Israelis with Jewish history, the story of the unlikely survival of a small people against all odds. The Rabbinate can become the gentle, inviting voice that reminds Israelis, observant and not, of the central role that Jewish faith and practice plays in that amazing story.”