Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Reflections from a Rabbinical Student in Israel

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Reflections from a Rabbinical Student in Israel

Article excerpt

I do not want the State of Israel to consider me a rabbi.

To be fair, at the moment, no one should call me a rabbi; I still have a few years of studies before I will be ordained at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. However, even after my ordination, I do not want the government to judge my worthiness to be a religious leader. I would much prefer the government worry about issues other than the way its citizens connect to God, spirituality, and halacha.

Instead, I would prefer the government worry about the services it provides its citizens, such as national defense, infrastructure, and education. The state provides a number of social services, such as health care, funerals, and even weddings, and it is precisely for this reason that I am so glad that the state has decided to fund non-Orthodox rabbis.

Maintaining a practice that goes back to the Ottoman period, Israel recognizes a number of religions that it then funds to provide certain services. …

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