Tzohar launches campaign to reform Chief Rabbinate

The Tzohar rabbinical organization launched a public information campaign to encourage reforms in the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

The campaign, launched Aug. 24, calls for the election of new rabbinical court judges who would be more open to the needs of the general public, not just the religiously observant sectors, and new guidelines for managing the marriage, divorce and conversion processes in Israel — three areas that have been particularly notorious in alienating the secular community.

“As a result of the policies of the Chief Rabbinate, restaurants across the country are forgoing kosher supervision, obstacles are being placed in front of people interested in halachic conversions, and more and more Israelis are opting for a non-Jewish marriage ceremony abroad,” Tzohar President Rabbi David Stav said in a statement. “The result will be a de facto detachment between the State of Israel and its Jewish identity.”

Tzohar, which helps to involve nonreligious couples and their families in religious wedding ceremonies, marries about 3,000 couples a year free of charge. — jta