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RCA Reaches Agreement With Israeli Rabbinate Over Status Letters

RCA Reaches Agreement With Israeli Rabbinate Over Status Letters

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel will automatically accept “Jewish status letters” written by members of the Rabbinical Council of America, the organization announced on Friday.

As part of what the RCA said was a unique relationship between the two bodies, the agreement mandates the automatic acceptance of letters bearing the endorsement of the RCA.

The halachic legitimacy of Modern Orthodox rabbis from America in Israel became international news recently when status letters from Rabbi Avi Weiss and several others were questioned by the chief rabbinate of Israel. Earlier this week the rabbinate did an about-face and recognized the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale leader and founder of two Bronx yeshivas following the intervention of diaspora affairs minister Naftali Bennett.

“Recent actions by the Chief Rabbinate’s office regarding letters submitted by RCA members raised many concerns both in the United States and Israel,” the RCA said in its statement.

“The ensuing public discussion raised important issues. While the RCA chose not to openly engage in this debate, it did actively seek solutions to those problems and to the long term issues relating to the partnership between the rabbis of Israel and the Diaspora.

Rabbi Leonard Matanky, RCA’s president said the greement was historic. “Since the earliest days of the RCA we have worked together with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel,” said the rabbi. “We are proud that we can expand that partnership to better serve our constituents and resolve issues that might appear before the Chief Rabbinate.”

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