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Jan 27, 2016

might we soon see elections for chief rabbinate positions?

I like Rabbi Lau. Who doesn't? The son also, the current Chief Rabbi, but I am referring to the father, the current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv.

Rav Yisrael Meir Lau is about to turn 80, and thank God has good health and strength and is doing a fine job in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, the law is forcing him to retire when he hits 80. It would be a big loss to have him forced out when he is still functioning just fine, though I understand the purpose of the law is to deal with situations in which the Chief Rabbi of a given city might not be functioning so well and continues to hold the position, leaving his residents without a functioning rabbi. The law itself isn't bad, but perhaps need to be adjusted to take into account the rabbi's health.

Anyways, Rabbi Lau the son has requested from the Legal Counsel of the Rabbanut to find a way to extend Rabbi Lau the father's term for another 5 years (dependent on a health report).

It seems that the most effective way to allow this to happen would be to change the status of the Chief Rabbi of a city from being an appointment to being a publicly elected position.
source: Behadrei

I think that this could be great. I don't know how such elections would be designed. I suspect that they would design them in a way that does not actually give people the vote, but keeps it within the political level of voting and just change the official status.

That would be a shame.

Let the people have the power, rather than the cronyism of politics. The people should have more say in who their Chief Rabbi is. Rabbi Lau very well might win his election, as he has always been very popular, but other rabbis might be replaced, whether at 80 or at a earlier age.

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  1. The people should have ALL of the say in choosing the Chief Rabbi - otherwise there is no justification whatsoever for calling him the Chief Rabbi.

  2. SB, Beit ShemeshJanuary 27, 2016 5:57 PM

    This would be a disaster. As I've posted here before, the Rabbanut is not only there to provide services but also to maintain standards of halacha, even if it's not what everyone wants. You can't maintain standards by popular vote

  3. But the city rabbis are voted in, albeit by a small committee that includes the mayor and city council members, representatives of local synagogues, and the national rabanut.
    If Peres can be the PresOfIsrael at over 90, then city rabbis should be allowed to have their position renewed by a similar committee.
    And the age limit on Chief Rabbi should definitely be raised from 70.


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