Rabbi Riskin: Reform and Conservative are part of Israel'

Religious Zionist Rabbi Shlomo Riskin says Diaspora Jewry can teach Israelis about religious pluralism.

Gary Willig,

Rabbi Riskin
Rabbi Riskin
צילום: אלירן אהרון

A conference on Israel's relationship with Diaspora Jewry was held in Jerusalem Tuesday evening.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin,rabbi of Efrat and the head of the Ohr Torah Stone Institute, addressed the conference and spoke about Israel's relationship with the liberal non-halakhically observant Reform and Conservative movements in the US.

"There is a reciprocal relationship between Diaspora Jewry and Israel, which is very important, even vital for us," Rabbi Riskin said.

"Diaspora Jewry includes intermarriage and assimilation, and it is very importance o explain to them about Independence Day and Jerusalem and about the things which we can give them [so they can] be Jews. I was in Toronto with the emissaries of the Strauss-Amiel Institute and I heard how our emissaries give the Jews abroad the feeling that Judaism is the way and that it is capable of teaching the world," Rabbi Riskin explained.

"We should at least teach the values ​​of Judaism and its value of the Shabbat, and this may change the whole face of Judaism In the world," he continued.

Rabbi Riskin noted that the relationship with Diaspora Jewry is a two-way street. "What can the Diaspora give us?"

"First and foremost, [Diaspora Jewry can teach us] the idea of pluralism...and these are the words of the living God. The average American Jew can understand that Orthodoxy in Israel is the established Judaism in Israel, but he is not willing to accept the fact that whoever belongs to one stream and prays in a different way can not receive a respectable place at the Western Wall. There is room for various prayers in God's prayer house. I am a very proud Orthodox rabbi, but I see the Reform and Conservative as my partners and as part of Israel, and I am not prepared to categorize them as nonbelievers and as gentiles as the rabbinic religious establishment does,"