Rabbinical Alliance of America Memorializes Chacham Shalom Elbaz, Zt’l
Important Issues Facing Klal Yisrael Discussed at Rosh Chodesh Av Conference
Edited by: TJVNews.com
On Rosh Chodesh Av, July 19, 2023, the Igud HaRabbonim/Rabbinical Alliance of America convened its monthly conference which took place at the Ahi Ezer Yeshiva Congregation where Igud HaRabbonim Presidium Member, Rabbi Hanania Elbaz, is the Mara D’atra. The Rosh Chodesh Av Seudah and Conference was l’zecher nishmas HaGaon HaChacham Shalom Ben HaGaon HaChacham Chayim Elbaz, Zt’l father of Rabbi Hanania Elbaz and father of Rabbi Eliyahu Elbaz, who is the Rabbi of the Sephardic Lebanese Congregation of Brooklyn. In honor of the Hilula of Chacham Shalom Elbaz, Z’tl, Rabbi Hanania Elbaz delivered an erudite Dvar Halacha.
At the meeting Rabbi Yaakov Shulman, presidium member of the Igud HaRabbonim who arrived from Israel just a few short hours ahead of the meeting, gave regards from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, in particular from Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef. Rabbi Shulman, on behalf of the Igud HaRabbonim, spent the previous five weeks in Israel with the Rabbanut, observing the operations and sitting in on many proceedings of the Israeli Rabbinical courts.
“The Igud HaRrabbonim is proud of our partnership with the Rabbanut and we are delighted that Rabbi Yaakov Shulman took time from his busy schedule to spend over a month observing and participating with the Rabbinical Court system. The Igud Beth Din prides itself on our ability in keeping up with all new developments in the application of Halacha to Dinei Torah. We are thrilled that Rabbi Shulman observed all matters that came before the Israeli Rabbinical courts, ranging from monetary issues to family issues, divorce proceedings, conversions, and all issues of personal status. This hands-on approach keeps the Beth Din fully apprised of the cutting-edge issues and new developments on the application of Halacha to questions under Jewish law,” said Rabbi Yaakov Klass, presidium chairman, Igud HaRabbonim.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Igud HaRabbonim noted that Rosh Chodesh Av is also the yahrzeit of Aharon HaCohen. “It is remarkable that Aharon HaCohen passed away on Rosh Chodesh Av, which signifies the most tragic time on the Jewish Calendar. It is the start of the Nine Days of Jewish national mourning for the destruction of both Temples which occurred on the ninth day of Av. There is a powerful message here because nothing happens as a coincidence in Yiddishkeit. Aharon HaCohen personified the ultimate peacemaker. His love for his people had no bounds; he was pure Ahvas Yisrael. Tisha B’Av happened because we are not behaving as talmidei Aharon, and we are not pursuing peace. This is a strong message that we can change as a people only if we are true to the teachings of Aharon HaCohen. In that merit, we will be zoche to the Guelah Sheleimah and Tisha B’Av will transform from a day of mourning to a day of celebration.”
Rabbi Mirocznik emphasized, “that as a Jewish community we must be true to ourselves and commit ourselves to adopt the teachings of Aharon HaCohen. We must implement his Ahavas Yisrael. This is the only way we will be able to fight the ugly scourge of antisemitism. This past week, President Isaac Herzog received bipartisan support for Israel when he spoke before Congress in Washington DC. President Herzog comes to America on the heels of much tension in Israel between the religious and secular communities. As Jews, we must make a commitment to respect Torah and our traditions, and we must find a way to have peace amongst ourselves. We can fight our enemies, but we can only do so if we have respect for Torah and Mitzvos, and understand the need to follow the teachings of Aharon HaCohen.”
Rabbi Mirocznik then went on to thank Mayor Eric Adams for protesting the Swedish person who obtained police permission to burn a Torah, a Hebrew Bible, outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm. Fortunately, that individual changed his mind and did not go through with this outrageous act. This was thanks in no small measure to the efforts of those like Mayor Adams, who publicly stated that, “[p]eople of faith must be able to stand together. Sacred texts deserve respect, whether it’s the Torah, Quran, or Bible. Their destruction is a horrible act of hate, and we unequivocally condemn all these demonstrations.”
Rabbi Mirocznik stressed, “that the actions of Mayor Adams demonstrate that when good people are not afraid to speak their conscience, bad things such as the public desecration of the Torah and Bible can be averted. This is best expressed in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, ‘the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.’ Dr. King is still right. On behalf of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, we thank Mayor Adams for speaking up and protecting once again the faith-based community.”
Finally, Rabbi Mirocznik expressed praise for the United States Supreme Court which issued a major decision that will have far-reaching implications on any employer who tries to force employees to work on their day of religious observance. On June 29, 2023, in a rare unanimous decision, in Groff v. DeJoy, the U.S. Supreme Court set a new and higher bar before an employer can force an employee to work on a day of religious observance. Rabbi Mirocznik was most pleased that the Igud HaRabbonim proudly signed on to the Amicus Brief prepared by our friends and distinguished attorneys, Nathan Lewin, Esq. and Dennis Rapps, Esq., of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA). “We cannot thank COLPA enough for their advocacy which helped guide the high court in making this unanimous decision.”
On behalf of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, Mirocznik said, “this ruling is a landmark victory, not only for Groff, but for every American. No American should be forced to choose between their faith and their job. The court’s decision today restores religious freedom to every American in the workplace. This decision will help millions of Americans retain their religious traditions and transmit them to their children and grandchildren.”\