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Proposal: Women to Help Choose Chief Rabbis



A new proposal in Knesset would raise the bar for candidates for the post of Chief Rabbi, and would ensure that at least 25% of those voting the new rabbis in be women.

The proposal was submitted Tuesday by MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua). It was signed by MKs from his party and by Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) and Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi), among others.

The bill states that a chief rabbi must have education or experience as both the rabbi of a city and a judge (dayan) in a court of Jewish law. Currently rabbis may be chosen as Chief Rabbi even without having experience or education in one of the two fields.

The proposal would also expand the body that selects the Chief Rabbis from 150 to 200 people, and would ensure that at least 50 members are women. In an attached explanation, MK Stern noted that in the past as few as 2% of committee members have been women, and that the change in rules would ensure more equal representation.

Stern warned that if no change is made, “A group of appointed rabbis is likely to perpetuate the Rabbinate’s detachment from the needs of Israeli society. With no change, the Chief Rabbinate will continue to be cut off… Just two percent women in the electing body is just one example of this.”

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