By Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, Norwalk, CT
Member of the Presidium
“For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent, for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest, until her righteousness comes out like brilliance, and her salvation burns like a torch.” (Isaiah 62:1)
On behalf of our membership – over 950 Orthodox spiritual leaders serving throughout the USA and Canada – the Rabbinical Alliance of America -Igud Harabonim express its unqualified support for the Rishon LeTzion Rav Yitzchak Yosef and the recent pronouncements regarding Conversions to Judaism.
The RAA concurs with Rav Yosef on the absolute necessity that proper procedures are adhered to as they pertain to conversions to Judaism –that they be exclusively according to HALACHA.
Furthermore, we are appalled at the blatant distortions and misrepresentations of the Chief Rabbis statement that were disseminated out of context to the world press – twisting the Sephardic Chief Rabbis words to assure condemnation of the Chief Rabbis office. We are perturbed that those who seek to dismantle the office of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel do so for partisan reasons, primarily due to antipathy to Jewish law and tradition as practiced for millennia.
We at the RAA are fully cognizant that the Chief Rabbis words have nothing to do with hostility, animus or racism of any segment of Israel’s population; nor were they expressed for political consideration. The RAA supports the Chief Rabbis words as having everything to do with protecting the integrity of Jewish identity and adherence to classical Halacha as codified in the Codes of Jewish Law.
The Office of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is an essential and unifying institution and must function as an independent authority for all matters pertaining to GIYUR – CONVERSIONS and issues pertaining to RELIGIOUS IDENTITY and PERSONAL STATUS as indicated and codified in the CODE of JEWISH LAW – HALACHA & SHULCHAN ARUKH.
The time hallowed and established heritage of our people (Halacha) serves to preserve the unity of the Jewish people of all levels of observance. In fact, these standards serve to protect the world Jewish community from the escalating and alarming rate of assimilation and intermarriage.
May the One who makes peace in the Heavenly heights make peace upon us and upon all Israel, Amen