Chief rabbi will fight non-Orthodox rabbis salaries

Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi said he will fight the state’s agreement to pay the salaries of some non-Orthodox rabbis.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar said in an interview with the haredi Kol Berama radio station that he would convene the Chief Rabbinate Council, made up of Orthodox rabbis throughout Israel, to discuss ways to reverse the decision. The meeting reportedly will take place next week.

He added that the decision to recognize non-Orthodox rabbis could “uproot all the foundations of the Torah.”

Amar also objected to the fact that the attorney general, who brokered the agreement, did not consult with the Chief Rabbinate.

The Jewish Federations of North America issued a statement condemning Amar’s remarks, saying, “We condemn comments that disparage fellow Jews and, in particular, well-established branches of Judaism that represent 80 percent of North American Jewry. … Statements such as those made by Rabbi Amar only serve to alienate our fellow Jews from our religion, our people and the Jewish State.”

Some 4,000 Orthodox rabbis serve as rabbis of their communities and draw a salary from the government’s Religious Services Ministry. — jta