Daily Israel Report

‘Modern Rabbi Has to be Like Superman’

Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel was honored Tuesday not only for being steeped in Torah knowledge but also for knowing how to chat with youth.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/10/2009, 6:02 PM / Last Update: 11/10/2009, 6:23 PM

Israel news photo

It is not easy being a rabbi these days. He has to be steeped in Torah knowledge, know how to deal with the Internet and understand how to chat with today’s youth on the world around them. Ramat Gan’s Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Shlita, was honored Tuesday evening for filling the bill.

“You have to a superman to be a modern rabbi,” journalist and author Avi Rath told Arutz-7.  Rath was master of ceremonies in the event, and he described Rabbi Ariel as a spiritual leader who has been able to overcome the challenge of authority by today’s youth.

The event discussed the problems of the modern rabbi, whom Rath relates needs to be not only a Torah scholar but also a good speaker and a leader, and also needs to be involved in day-to-day problems in the world of the Internet. 

Among the speakers was Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Shlita, head of the Bet El Yeshiva and the force behind the creation of Arutz Sheva, IsraelNationalNews internet site and the weekly Israeli newspaper "Besheva", who spoke on the relationship between Torah and the media today.

“A rabbi can be a very nice man, but he is irrelevant if he is not an expert in what is happening in the world and cannot converse easily with youth.” Roth explained.

Rath noted that another change from years ago is that the rabbi’s stature is often challenged by the ability of high school yeshiva students as well as educated adults knowing how to find answers to questions in Jewish law without turning to the rabbi.