Israeli Rabbinate’s global blacklist includes five UK rabbis

A list of ministers whose rulings on Jewish status are not accepted by the religious authority has surfaced


A list of 160 diaspora rabbis who have had testimonials of Jewish status rejected by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate contains five from Britain.

The list of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis emerged over the weekend after it had been handed over by an official in the Chief Rabbinate to Itim, a campaign group which helps those who experience bureaucratic problems proving their Jewish identity.

But Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau said he had been unaware of the list’s existence.

Three of the UK names are Rabbi Blue, presumably Rabbi Lionel Blue, the former convener of the Reform Beth Din, who died last year; Rabbi Rodney Mariner, another former convener of the Reform Beth Din; and Rabbi Mark Winer, a former senior rabbi of the West London Synagogue.

A fourth is Rabbi Daniel Glass, the name of an Orthodox rabbi who has lectured at the Jewish Learning Exchange and was rabbi of the Shomrei Hadath (Federation) Synagogue London – although it is not clear if this is the person intended.

The fifth spells out in Hebrew Rabbi Jeremy Goltick, a name which so far no one has been able to link to an individual, although there has been speculation it could be a misspelling of Rabbi Jeremy Collick, the former rabbi of Edgware Masorti Synagogue.

Under the Law of Return, Jews who make aliyah have to produce a letter testifying they are Jewish. Testimonials from non-Orthodox rabbis are accepted for this purpose.

However, when it comes to marriage in Israel, the Orthodox authorities may refuse to accept such documents as proof of Jewish status.

The controversial list is understood to record the names of diaspora rabbis whose endorsement of someone’s Jewish status in connection with marriage was rejected by the Chief Rabbinate during 2016.

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