Israel's state chief rabbinate says it does not keep a list "either hidden or public” of approved Orthodox rabbis in the Diaspora and can't understand why anyone would think differently – despite extensive evidence stretching over a decade showing the chief rabbinate has indeed has maintained such a list for many years.
Despite years Of Evidence To The Contrary, Israel’s Haredi Chief Rabbis Claim No White List Kept Of Approved Diaspora Rabbis
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel's state chief rabbinate says it does not keep a list "either hidden or public” of approved Orthodox rabbis in the diaspora and can't understand why anyone would think differently – despite extensive evidence showing the chief rabbinate has indeed had such a list for many years.
The chief rabbinate's response came as an answer to a question from the Jerusalem Post after the Post learbned that the moderate Zionist Orthodox Tzohar rabbinic organization had filed a freedom of information request for the list last month.
The request was filed on September 12 and the chief rabbinate has 30 days to respond – meaning its deadline is up today.
But as of this morning, the chief rabbinate had not yet responded to Tzohar.
The exact wording of the question the Post asked the chief rabbinate is unclear and although the Post has Tzohar letter, it has not published it or its text, so the scope of what Tzohar asked the chief rabbinate is unclear.
“The Chief Rabbinate’s current approval process for Diaspora rabbis is largely based upon personal relationships and political affiliations, not on objective halachic criterion. There are thousands of Diaspora rabbis who are unable to validate Jewish status or perform halachic Jewish marriages for their own constituents in the State of Israel. This behavior has become a plague that is driving millions of Jews away from Israel and Judaism. The Jewish People cannot afford to lose a single Jewish family,” an anonymous Tzohar source told the Post.
Although the Post does not report this, it is possible the chief rabbinate is using proxies in the Diaspora to curate and maintain these lists, which are then used 'informally' by the chief rabbinate in order to avoid legal and other restraints prohibiting it from maintaining this type of list.
In America, that list would likely be maintained by the Rabbincal Council of America or a one of its proxies – perhaps someone closely affiliated with the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva University's rabbinical school Rabbi Hershel Schachter.
But even if the list not kept in the Diaspora, almost a decade of reporting seems to document it really exists – making the chief rabbinate's denial almost certainly false.
“The rabbinate clearly admits that it maintains records of who is approved and who is not. First it is their legal obligation to publish these facts. It is also their legal, moral and halachic obligation to explain what methods the Chief Rabbinate uses to judge the halachic lifestyles of 1,000 North American rabbis and their communities,” Tzohar reportedly said.