The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest association representing Orthodox rabbis, reiterates the well-known position of halachic Judaism, that all Jews, regardless of their observance or belief, are full members of the Jewish people, and are our brothers and sisters. The issue is once more in the news cycle after Israel’s Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay made an intemperate statement regarding Reform Jews, although from the context it seems clear that he meant to question the validity of their religious expression rather than their essential Jewishness.
Rabbi Leonard Matanky, president of the RCA, said, “The RCA, representing traditional standards of religious practice and definition of Jewishness, has well-known objections to some of the fundamental tenets of Reform Judaism. There is no question, however, that we certainly embrace all members of the Jewish community. This is clearly the undisputed position of Jewish law. In addition, our late teacher Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik spoke of a covenant of peoplehood that is defined by our shared history and common fate that binds together all Jews as one people. The ties that bind us to all other Jews are strong and eternal.”
Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the RCA, stated, “We fear that Minister Azoulay’s comments will hamper the efforts we all support to bring all Jews closer to their religious legacy, and alienate many with whom we work daily to strengthen both the State of Israel and our own community.”