Sunday, June 3, 2012

Non-Orthodox rabbis to receive payment

NYTimes    The Israeli government announced on Tuesday that, for the first time, it planned to pay the salaries of a small number of Reform and Conservative rabbis, as it does with many Orthodox ones. 

In a deal brokered in response to a 2005 petition by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, the state said it would financially support up to 15 non-Orthodox rabbis serving farming communities and regional councils. They will be classified as “rabbis of non-Orthodox communities” and paid by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, not the Ministry of Religious Services.  

While any recognition of Reform and Conservative rabbis by the government is significant, the move does not address a principal concern of those movements: the Orthodox rabbinate’s control of marriages and other legal questions. The deal says these non-Orthodox rabbis will not have any say over matters of religion and Jewish law, so it is unclear what their roles will be, or how many communities will request them.

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