There’s More Than One Way to Be a Rabbi in Israel



We won! The attorney general has just released his consent to recognize Rabbi Miri Gold as the first Rabbi of a non-Orthodox congregation in the history of the Israel. Drink L’Chayim. Congratulate every rabbi in our movement. Sound the shofar. Say She’hecheyanu. We won recognition for the first Reform rabbi in Israel.

Over seven years you have played an invaluable part in this struggle. You stood with Miri every step of the way and we would not have reached this joyous day without your pressure from all corners of the Jewish world. The Israeli Attorney General accepted the request of the court and committed to equal pay for Rabbi Miri Gold for her work at Congregation Birkat Shalom. The State will give her the title “Rabbi.”

Rabbi Miri Gold

The decision today paves the way for dozens of other Reform and Conservative rabbis in Israel to receive a salary from the government for their holy work, in the same way that 4000 Orthodox rabbis do.

This historic victory is another step in leveling the playing field. This allows the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism to build on the success achieved so far by our congregational rabbis, and deepen our work for the Israeli public.

Rabbi Gold said, “What joy! Finally there’s more than one way to be a rabbi in Israel!”

A few weeks ago, you sent over 5000 emails to Minister Margi telling him that stalling on this issue would fail. Your voice was heard. It is just as important to thank the government for doing the right thing as it is to pressure them when they are not. In that spirit, let’s write to Prime Minister Netanyahu and tell him that we are grateful that our rabbi, Miri Gold, is finally able to perform her important work as an equal.

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Anat Hoffman

About Anat Hoffman

Anat Hoffman is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.

10 Responses to “There’s More Than One Way to Be a Rabbi in Israel”

  1. A TRUE ‘SHEHECHEYANU MOMENT’
    Blessings & Mazel to all involved !!!!!!!

  2. The first step of many to come!!!

  3. Baruj HaShem! This is wonderful news!!! About time too!! All our voices will be able to speak, sing, pray and praise now in Israel!!
    I am sooooooo happy and grateful to rabbi Miri Gold (hope to meet her one day in Israel!) and Anat Hoffman for all their tireless work and commitment to G’d’s work!! No matter what ministry it comes from.
    Sheyejanu and L’Jaim indeed!

  4. “The decision applies only to regional councils and farming communities rather than all Israeli cities, and funding for the rabbis’ salaries will come from the Culture and Sports Ministry and not the Religious Services Ministry as it does for Orthodox rabbis…” So recognition of Reform/Conservative Judaism as part of culture but not part of religion.

  5. This subject confounds me. While I am very happy at the news, I can’t understand our complacency at the situation. When other minorities were being discrimnated against in any way, e.g. blacks or women in America, we marched, we went to jail, we at least made general nuisances of ourselves.

    But when we are discriminated against, we spend years genteely applying for relief. Why are we not boycotting Israel? Why do we so avidly support a people who have no respect for our human rights?

    And no, this has nothing to do with Orthodox hegemony in
    Israel. The “secular” Israeli majority has shown no reluctance to demand concessions from the Orthodox, e.g. on the “Who is a Jew” question, on requiring military service of the Haredi.

    No, the “secular” majority just doesn’t care about our rights! Why do we care about theirs?

  6. Penny Sklove Levy Reply May 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    This is wonderful news for all who love Israel and consider it their homeland whether they were born there or not! Mazel Tov Rabbi Gold! May many others follow in your footsteps!

  7. yay…but methinks a better path to equality is to remove state funding from all rabbis. i know, i know, such a USA view, with our separation of church and state.

  8. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. An Early Profile of Rabbi Miri Gold :: Fresh Updates from RAC - May 30, 2012

    [...] Israel Fund, released a statement welcoming the news as “historic.” You may have read Anat Hoffman’s statement we posted here yesterday, where she called on us to say a shecheyanu, and Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Israel Movement [...]

  2. Israel Finally Recognizes Non-Orthodox Jews | Test - May 29, 2012

    [...] The decision applies only to regional councils and farming communities rather than all Israeli cities, and funding for the rabbis’ salaries will come from the Culture and Sports Ministry and not the Religious Services Ministry as it does for Orthodox rabbis. Still, the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism is hailing it as a victory. [...]

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