Shmuly Yanklowitz

Shmuly YanklowitzCommunity Contributor

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the President & Dean of the Valley Beit Midrash, the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute, the Founder and President of YATOM, and the author of thirteen books on Jewish ethics. Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America and the Forward named him one of the 50 most influential Jews. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s and do not represent any organizations he is affiliated with.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Orthodox Rabbis Call For A ‘Truly Pluralistic Israel’

As progressive, pluralistic orthodox rabbis associated with the rabbinic group Torat Chayim, we stand fully as allies with our sisters and brothers throughout the entire Jewish community in support of pluralism in America and Israel. We were disheartened to read that the Israeli government has rescinded its commitment to create a space for alternative and liberal groups to pray at the Western Wall and is moving to delegitimate all conversions but those done by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Imposing one narrow version of Orthodox Judaism as the official standard for prayer and for conversion in Israel harms the unity of the Jewish people and it harms support for Israel in America. We encourage all Modern Orthodox Jews to publicly support freedom for multiple religious approaches to Jewish life. The Torah demands that we embrace humility in our dealings with fellow human beings. Pirkei Avot teaches: Do not demand to be the sole judge (of what is right or wrong in religious matters) for only God — and not humans representing God — has the capability of being the sole judge. This means that we should bring humility - not arrogance; and wonder - not certainty — to our relationships. The Sages teach that we are stronger when we disagree openly and respectfully while continuing to engage with one another and honor each other’s human dignity. We honor the different paths of our fellow Jews, even if we have our disagreements for the sake of heaven, and we yearn deeply to see a truly pluralistic Israel.

Signed,

Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham
Rabbi Dr. Marc Angel
Rabino Daniel Askenazi
Rabbi Ben Berger
Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Rabbi Menashe East
Rabbi Michael Cooper Emerson
Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber
Rabbi Avidan Freedman
Rabbi Marc Gitler
Rabbi Daniel Goodman
Rabbi Dr. Mel Gottlieb
Rabbi Ben Greenberg
Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg
Rabbi Herzl Hefter
Rabbanit Bracha Jaffe
Rabbi David Jaffe
Rabbi David Kalb
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky
Rabbi David Kasher
Rabbi Ysoscher Katz
Rabbi Will Keller
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn
Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz
Rabbi Yehoshua Looks
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Rabbi Dr. Ariel Evan Mayse
Rabbi Avram Mlotek
Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman
Rabbi Micha Odenheimer
Rabbi Haim Ovadia
Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard
Rabbi Aaron Potek
Rabbi Dr. David Rosen
Rabbi Abe Schacter-Gampel
Rav Hanan Schlesinger
Rabbi Gabriel Nachman Kretzmer Seed
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein
Rabba Ramie Smith
Rabbi Devin Villarreal
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Orthodox Rabbis Call For A ‘Truly Pluralistic Israel’

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