Rabbis of three hues on ‘blacklist’

Caulfield Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Ralph Genende blows the shofar at Caulfield Park. Photo: Peter Haskin

THREE Australian rabbis – from mainstream Orthodox, Chabad and Progressive shules – are baffled to be on an Israeli Chief Rabbinate “blacklist” of 160 rabbis worldwide. These rabbis have had at least one letter of theirs confirming the Jewish status of individuals rejected by the Rabbinate.

A spokesperson for Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC), whose Rabbi Ralph Genende was on the list, said, “Rabbi Genende has served the members of the Victorian and New Zealand Jewish community with distinction over the past 25 years … The publication of such a list, in the name of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel can only serve to further disenfranchise Diaspora Jews from Orthodox Judaism,” CHC stated.

Sydney’s Rabbi Aron ‘Ritchie’ Moss of Nefesh, a Chabad community said: “I have received a personal apology from the Chief Rabbi who is very embarrassed by it. Rest assured there is nothing for me or my community to be concerned about.”

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, a senior dayan of the Sydney Beth Din, said the official who compiled the list has been reprimanded and he had been emailed an apology. 

Rabbi Fred Morgan, Movement Rabbi of the Union for Progressive Judaism, which has no connections with the Orthodox Israeli Rabbinate, was mystified about his inclusion. 

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that people who have had to deal with blacklisting for virtually all of our history are compiling such a list against our own people … The list contains rabbis from right across the board,” said Rabbi Morgan, noting the Chief Rabbinate “has done us a favour” by uniting a Progressive, a Chabad and a mainstream Orthodox rabbi and their congregations.

PETER KOHN

Full story in The AJN