Man Allegedly Turned Away From Haredi-Controlled State Marriage Office Because Of His Contact With Moderate Modern Orthodox Rabbis
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Not long ago, Dudi Shemo went to the local state marriage registrar in Petach Tikva near Tel Aviv to be registered as a single person, a step necessary under Israeli law for every Jew before marriage.
According Shemo, the visit did not go well.
The marriage registrar asked for Shemo’s file number. Shemo responded that had begun the marriage process with a rabbi from the moderate Modern Orthodox Tzohar organization (which many haredi and conservative Zionist Orthodox rabbis despise), not with the state rabbinate.
“You opened your file with Tozhar, so go to them for the certificate too,” the haredi registrar, Rabbi Shmuel Dov Rosenberg, allegedly fumed.
Shemo told Ynet that he refused Rosenberg’s order.
"I told him it was my right to [have the certificate of singleness] issued wherever I live [Petach Tikva], but he insisted that he could not do it. I continued arguing with him, and he just said: 'I can't and I'm not wrong. Get out and close the door!'"
The Religious Services Ministry told Ynet Shemo’s version of events is false.
"The man arrived to register his marriage at the Petach Tikva Religious Council, failed to present the required documents and did not cooperate with the marriage registrar – for his own reasons. It has nothing to do with the marrying rabbi and/or organization. If we receive other information, we will be happy to look into the matter," the ministry said.
Tzohar’s rabbinic opponents reportedly claim that Tzohar does not simply provide a kinder, gentler and cost-free rabbinic experience for Israelis.
Instead, they claim that Tzohar has accused non-Tzohar rabbis of asking for inflated payments from Israelis for basic religious services like performing weddings and encouraging Israelis’ already negative feelings toward Judaism.
But allegations, some proven, of state haredi rabbis demanding illegal payments from brides and grooms, extorting them and otherwise behaving badly are legion. Some haredi rabbis have ended up in court over them, others have faced different sanctions; most have gone unpunished – including Israel’s former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who not only allegedly extorted brides and grooms and took illegal payments, he also falsified marriage documents and allegedly sexually harassed both women and men.
But after more than a decade of escaping punishment, Metzger was recently arrested on charges of fraud, money laundering and breach of public trust.