Almog Painting living/dining room apple green and tangarine. Just so!
I feel that it’s urgent. Why? – because I’m now sure that history will judge us, and I want to give my testimony.
But there are so many things to tell. And it would be very hard to explain in English. I’ll try to explain one thing at a time.
How can I explain what the city Rabbi of Zafed said and what is the significance of it? I guess I have to explain first what a city rabbi is. Well, he is appointed by the state, a state worker. His job is, I think, to be responsible for all Jewish religious services in the city. But also, what Rabbis do, they give rulings that are interpretaions of the holly books and halakha and their followers feel committed to these rulings.
This situation seems rather wierd, to me. For Orthodox religious people, it seems to me as if it limits their choice of spiritual leadership to state-appointed spiritual leadership. No? I don’t know if they mind it, I think I would.
State-appointed rabbis represent only one, very specific flavour of orthodox Judaism. But they monopolise religious services, such as weddings. So at this important, supposedly exciting and meaningful point of one’s life, one has to have a state-appointed rabbi running everything, saying what he feels is appropriate, ordering people about. Even if one is not a believer at all. Otherwise the state will not recognise the marriage. The only other alternative is to marry abroad.
I got married to my ex-husband abroad, because I didn’t want a sermon that is nothing to do with my beliefs and values. But when we got divorced, we had to go through the state-appointed orthodox rabbis still, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to re-marry (not relevant to me, but relevant to him, and the point is that this is how things go here). The Ultra-orthodox have their legally-recognised solutions, but the non-Orthodox Jewish religious groups, and the non-believers, don’t have such a solution.
That’s just the background.
Being a state-worker, a city rabbi must behave according to certain rules and norms. So, when a city rabbi publishes a ruling that selling or letting flats to Arab citizens is forbiden by the rules of Judaism, we have a problem. This man is a spiritual leader and has followers, and he is appointed by me and payed by my tax money. And for the salary that I pay him, he preaches racism.
The attorny general, though, thinks that he can’t have legal action against him for ruling that, because this is a religious ruling and therefore, under freedom of religion. So if he says: people should not let their appartments to Arabs – that’s not ok. But if he says: in my autority as city rabbi I determine that it’s wrong to let flats to Arabs, as is demonstrated by book this-and-that phrase this-and-that, that’s under the protectino of freedom of religion.
And nobody cares.
I hope this makes more sense than my pseudo-English mumble