Twelve rabbonim who conducted weddings for the Tzohar organization accused its leaders of getting legitimacy for its contentious programs from the names of those who perform such ceremonies and demanded a stop to the deception.
Senior religious Zionist rabbonim, including Yerushalayim’s chief rabbi Rav Yaakov Ariel, left the organization because of this issue, they said.
The letter criticized Tzohar initiatives that pose a threat to Israel’s Jewish character, including the granting of hechsherim without Rabbinate supervision, a move opposed by many rabbonim but “met with enthusiasm by Reform rabbis and organizations [who are] fighting against the country’s Jewish identity.”
The rabbonim also noted that Giyur K’halacha conversion courts operating outside the Chief Rabbinate are headed by key Tzohar figures.
Tzohar responded that most of the letters’ signatories never performed weddings for the organization and others left the group over 10 years ago.
In addition, Tzohar said, a senior member of the Rabbinate’s kashrus system was recently indicted for suspected corruption, most rabbonim in Israel do not trust the Rabbinate’s hechsher and Tzohar provided hundreds of restaurants and businesses with hechsherim last year, causing them to close on Shabbos and observe kashrus.