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Reforming rabbinical funding
Photo: Guy Assayag
Reform, conservative rabbis to receive State funding
Understanding reached between representatives of non-orthodox Jewish groups and State defines spiritual leaders as 'rabbis of non-orthodox communities', a move that makes them eligible for state funding
Rabbis of conservative and reform communities will be recognized as official rabbis by the state, and will enjoy the same funding as orthodox rabbis who are appointed by the Chief Rabbinate.

 

The road to state funding was paved after the state and reform movement representatives reached an understanding in a petition which was filed in 2005.

 

An announcement presented by the State Prosecutor's Office to the High Court with regards to the petition on funding equality for non-orthodox rabbis stated that the disagreements between the reform movement and the State were at an end – with the State agreeing to define the spiritual leaders as "rabbis of non-orthodox communities" rather than "just" "community leaders."

 

When the petition was filed, the court sent both sides to mediation – without the court's involvement. The State, which at first was opposed to the reform movement's demands, agreed to offer funding several years ago – but the reform movement refused to remove the petition due to disagreements over the definition of their rabbis.

 

Now, with the State announcing it would agree to the definition of "rabbis of non-orthodox communities," the court's involvement has become unnecessary and it is set to approve the agreement.

 

Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism Rabbi Gilad Kariv said in response: "The State's agreement to support the activities of the reform rabbis in regional councils out of a clear recognition of their position as rabbis, is an important breakthrough in the efforts to promote freedom of religion in Israel and is a true declaration for hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

 

"This is a first but significant step in the road to equality between the status of all streams of Judaism in Israel and we hope that the State will indeed be careful in implementing its commitment to the court in full.

 

"We expect this move to lead to additional moves that will end the deep discrimination towards the non-orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel," he added.

 

 

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