Historic Decision in Israel: Rabbi Miri Gold Recognized by State
By Rabbi Daniel R. Allen
Editor’s Note: The following post was issued as a press release by URJ/ARZA yesterday afternoon following the news today that Rabbi Miri Gold would become the first non-orthodox Rabbi to be paid by the State of Israel.
Israeli Reform Rabbi Miri Gold will be the first non-orthodox Rabbi to be paid by the State of Israel, under a ruling today by the Israel Attorney General. Rabbi Gold, who first heard the news on the radio said, “This is a big step for religious pluralism and democracy in Israel. Israeli Jews want religious alternatives and with this decision the State is starting to recognize this reality. There is more than one way to be Jewish, even in Israel.”
“Miri’s success is success for all of us. With patience and perseverance, we will build an inclusive democratic Israeli society,” said Rabbi Daniel Allen, Executive Director of ARZA; The Reform Israel Fund. ARZA is the major American Reform Movement funder of the Israel Religious Action Center, an arm of the Israel Reform Movement, that brought the case to court six years ago. “Israel’s Declaration of Independence guaranteed religious freedom, it has to be that this freedom is for all Israeli’s, Jewish as well as Christian and Muslim. This decision brings us closer to the day where this will be the reality in Israel rather than the ideal.”
“This is a watershed moment for the Reform Movement and for religious pluralism in Israel,” stated President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “Mazel tov to Rabbi Gold and the many activists who work so diligently to ensure the eventual and thorough embrace of liberal Judaism in Israel.”
The ruling in this case follows other successes by the Israel Religious Action Center including the placement of a Reform Rabbi in Mevasseret on the Religious Council there, the finding that forced gender segregation on public transportation is discrimination and prohibited, and the allocation of pre-fab units to non-Orthodox congregations for synagogue buildings.
Rabbi Daniel R. Allen is the executive director of ARZA, and has served as the CEO of the American Friends of Magen David Adom and the United Israel Appeal. Allen is considered a leading expert on Israel and American Jewish Philanthropy.