JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau said in a letter that he did not know of the existence of a blacklist of Diaspora rabbis and that it should not have been released to the public.
“The Chief Rabbi was shocked to discover this list. This was done without the rabbi’s knowledge or his agreement. How can a list like this be publicized without the rabbi being made aware of the list itself or of its publication?” read the letter written by an aide on behalf of Lau and issued Sunday.
The list of 160 rabbis from 24 countries, including the United States and Canada, and including Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis, was released to JTA and other news outlets over the weekend by Itim, a nonprofit that guides Israelis through the country’s religious bureaucracy.
According to a JTA tally of the 66 U.S. rabbis on the list, at least one-fifth are Orthodox, including several prominent Orthodox rabbis and one alumnus of the Baltimore haredi Orthodox seminary Ner Yisroel. The vast majority of U.S. rabbis on the list are Reform or Conservative.
In Sunday’s letter, Lau ordered Chief Rabbinate Director-General Moshe Dagan to call in Rabbi Itamar Tubul, who kept and released the list, for questioning and a reprimand.