“L’ma’an Tzion Lo Echeshe uL’ma’an Yerushalayim Lo Eshkot.” (Yeshayahu 62:1)

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still, until her righteousness emanates like bright light, and her salvation blazes like a torch.” (Isaiah 62:1)

The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, with a membership of over 950 Orthodox rabbis who serve as spiritual leaders of congregations, yeshivot and communal organizations — representing the Jewish community of the United States, Canada, and overseas declares it support of the office of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel as presently headed by the venerable Chief Rabbi HaRav HaGaon Rav David Lau and the venerable Rishon LeTzion HaGaon Chacham Yitzchak Yosef. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel must be the only official arbiter of all matters pertaining to Giyur (conversion to Judaism), religious identity and personal status in the State of Israel. These must be decided according to Halacha as codified in the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) and subsequent responsa and codes.

The RAA/Igud joins in the Chief Rabbinate’s call to refrain from placing matters of Giyur and personal identity into the hands of an independent government commission or entity, as recently proposed by former Justice Minister of Israel Moshe Nissim in his Conversion Bill. The removal of this power from the Chief Rabbinate will generate confusion, strife and discord both in Israel and the Diaspora. The heritage and customs of our people as embodied in Halacha preserve the unity and integrity of Jewish people of all backgrounds and levels of observance. The Chief Rabbinate faithfully maintains these standards to both protect and unite the world Jewish community from assimilation and intermarriage.

Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, Chairman of the RAA/Igud Presidium, notes that the RAA/Igud represents nearly 1,000 rabbis who call on Jews of all backgrounds to uphold the standards that have strengthened Jewish identity from the time Jewish peoplehood was established at Sinai.

May the One who makes peace in His heavens make peace upon us and upon all Israel, Amen.