A Proposal for Modiin's Future

Now that Modiin has no Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, we have an opportunity. Instead of searching for a new Ashkenazic rabbi (in addition to the two Sephardic rabbis we still have, and because such searches are always political in nature and do not always take into consideration the needs of the city’s residents), I propose that the money for the Ashkenazic rabbi’s salary (c. 40,000 NIS per month!) be used to subsidize and encourage the hiring of community rabbis in Modiin.

It would work like this:  synagogue communities that have rabbis under employ will be eligible for a subsidy under the following conditions:
a.       These rabbis will be accessible to members of the broader community, particularly in their neighborhoods;
b.       No subsidy will exceed half of the salary that the rabbi already gets from his community;
c.        No community will be subsidized for more than 5,000 NIS per month.
d.       The rabbis of all synagogue communities – Chabad, Conservative, Masorti, Orthodox, Reform – will be eligible to apply for the subsidy.

As Anglos, we appreciate the value of cohesive communities with strong religious leadership. We know that the best way to build a rabbinate is not through political appointments from the top down, but by building supportive communities from the grassroots up. We know that eliminating the positions at the top and promoting communities as the basic building blocks of our civic society is the way to build a strong city, and ultimately a strong nation.

Municipal elections are coming up. Let’s put this issue on the agenda. Let’s make Modiin the site of a pilot program that every city in the country will want to emulate.


Michael Sedley said...

Excellent suggestion - we could certainly use more community rabbis in this city.
But I assume that someone will have to take over some of Rav Lau's responsibilities in the Rabbanut.

We may have had three chief Rabbis until now, but they were overseeing a lot of services such as Marriage, the cemetery, eruv, mikvaot, kashrut, and counseling.

Not sure how the responsibilities were divided among the Rabbis, but I would think that the office of the Rabbanut will need one or more people to carry out the responsibilities that Rav Lau had - although maybe this could be divided amongst the community / neighborhood rabbis.

ADDeRabbi said...

Kashrut should pay for itself.
Eruvin is outsourced as it is.
The other 2 rabbis can divide the rest. After all, not every city has 3 chief rabbis.

Ralph Loewenthal said...

This proposal is fraught with problems. I cannot see the "Dati" congregations agreeing to such a proposal. I for one as a "Dati" would be loathe to support any non-orthodox Rabbi, which I would be doing through my arnona. I have not heard about this sort of system working elsewhere.

ADDeRabbi said...

Ralph - and you're okay with non-"dati" supporting rabbinic positions? If anything, this is a far more equitable distribution. Most of the rabbis subsidized would be Orthodox, reflecting the population.
And for what it's worth, I am a non-serving Orthodox rabbi, ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
As for where it works - well, pretty much everywhere outside Israel.

ADDeRabbi said...

The responses to this post have been very positive. The next step is to take this to the media to create some real buzz and attract the attention of local politicians and political candidates.

I would like to formulate the letter as something that comes from a group of Modiin residents, not just one guy. Please message me or email me privately if you would be willing to have your name added to the letter.
I hope this moves things in the right direction.
Thanks and Shabbat shalom!