Skip To Content
Breaking News

Israelis Object to Orthodox-Only Rabbi Rules: Poll

More than two-thirds of Israelis object to the removal of a Conservative rabbi from a bar mitzvah ceremony for disabled children intended to take place at the Israeli president’s residence.

The ceremony has been run for 20 years by the Conservative movement and was scheduled to take place at the end of June. It was supposed to be co-officiated by one Conservative rabbi, Mike Goldstein, and one Orthodox rabbi, Benny Lau. But the Conservative officials said two weeks ago that Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, sent them the official ceremony program without Goldstein’s name.

A poll released Monday by Hiddush, an Israeli religious pluralism organization, found that 71 percent of Israelis object to the president’s decision to remove Goldstein as a co-officiator.

In its description of the incident in the poll, Hiddush wrote, “The President’s residence canceled a Bar Mitzvah ceremony for disabled children because a Conservative rabbi was supposed to lead the ceremony along with an Orthodox rabbi.” While the Conservative movement was the party that backed out of the ceremony, Hiddush wrote to JTA that the president is to blame for the cancellation.

Rivlin’s spokesman, Jason Pearlman, told JTA earlier this month that the event program had yet to be finalized. He said a number of possible options for the ceremony are still on the table.

The Hiddush poll also found that 59 percent of Israelis believe Israel should recognize Conservative, Reform and Orthodox rabbis equally.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.