Yesterday I posted about initiatives emerging in response to the failure of the State’s Rabbinic establishment.
Today, much to my chagrin, there was a news item that the Religious Services Ministry has banned rabbis from the organization, Tzohar, from performing weddings.(For those unfamiliar with their work, it’s worth checking out their website, to which I have linked.)
Tzohar has provided these services for over a decade, and has done a superb job in providing the broad population of Israel with, among other things, meaningful, dignified wedding services.
I guess in this case one could say, nothing fails like success.
Jeffrey Woolf has a moving post on this highly lamentable development. I’m sharing part of the post below, but it’s worth reading the entire piece.
The search for God and Torah are at the front and the center of contemporary cultural discourse and personal desire.
That desire, however, is all too often unrequited. The people might want God’s Word, but God’s Word is often inaccessible.
It is often inaccessible because large swaths of the Orthodox World are caught up in political considerations that make their own power and funding more important than spreading Torah and Sanctifying God’s Name. Today’s nefarious decision by the Religion Ministry to kill the Tzohar Marriage initiative is typical of this trend (as is the persistent delegitimization by the Rabbinical Courts of conversions and Divorces issued by Orthodox Battei Din both here and abroad). Couples wishing to marry כדת משה וישראל will now have to either contend with the unfeeling and gross bureaucracy that plague the established rabbinate…
God’s Word is also inaccessible because, for the vast majority of Traditional and even Orthodox Jews, they can’t understand it and there is no one to teach them. It is not of the lack of teachers or classes that I write. Rather, it is the inability of the overwhelming majority of rabbis and educators to convey the Torah in cultural terms that can command the respect and (hopefully) the assent of the inquirers after God’s Word. There simply aren’t enough representatives of Torah (men and women, from all types of professions) who can intelligently convey God’s Word to those who hunger for it. The enormity of this tragic circumstance is difficult to convey. It is compounded by the fact that (with a few exceptions) the community prefers to ignore the severity of the situation. In the Rav’s terms, the Lover is knocking on the Beloved’s door (which is locked from the outside). The locksmith, however, refuses to awaken and allow her to enter.
I do not know if we are living in the end of days. Happily, I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. I do know, however, that when the Day of God, the Day of Judgement arrives all of us who presume to be involved, observant Jews will be asked why we did not help the Jews of Israel (who, according to Maimonides, are the life blood of the Jewish People everywhere) to slake their thirst for God and His Word.