By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
March 16, 2009
I am so proud to be a member of the Jewish Community of Northwood. The Jewish Community of Northwood has 2 Congregations, one Untied, and one Liberal - my Shul. Together, we celebrate each others commonalities and differences. Yesterday, we had nearly 200 people donate blood in our Shul in a jointly sponsored event that alternates host Shul.
We have a number of Rabbis who serve our Jewish Community of Northwood. Each one is paid by its employer - no worries, because our employer is not the State. Imagine a State that had an official religion and that religion happened to be 'Judaism.' I would hate to consider that if that were ever the case in this country, 'Judaism' would only be defined singularly. Slowly we are correcting that notion in old-English institutions e.g. more people listen to the Liberal Rabbi, Pete Tobias, on Radio 2's Thought for the Day, than the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth on Radio 4 and the Council of Christians and Jews acknowledges the leaders of the Liberal Judaism, Masorti, Reform Judaism, the Spanish and Portugeuse, and the United Synagogue as equals.
Yet in the 'Jewish State,' 'Judaism' is defined-singularly and therefore, only Orthodox Rabbis are paid by their employer: the State of Israel. Non-Orthodox Rabbis scratch around for an existence or are open to the vagaries of stock markets that provide their backers with the funds to pay them a fair salary. Contrary I think to: "the State of Israel will guarantee freedom of religion!"
In two weeks time, a petition will be presented to Israeli President Shimon Peres prior to the reappearance of the Rabbi Miri Gold case will before the Supreme Court in June. This case supports the right of Miri, a non-Orthodox Rabbi to receive a State salary i.e. the State officially recognises that non-Orthodox Rabbis can be Rabbis.
I have written more about this case in the publication - LJ Today http://www.liberaljudaism.org/pdf/LJ_Today_March-April_2009.pdf.
If you believe that in what I am feeling passionate about, sign this petition in the next few days at www.irac.org
Would you expect me to stand up for your Jewish rights? I would do! Well stand up for mine in the Jewish State.