Jewish wedding
Jewish weddingiStock

The Hashgacha Pratit group will launch a new initiative on Monday that seeks to marry Israelis outside the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate.

Hashgacha Pratit, (Hebrew for 'Private Supervision'), had first announced in early July that it would start conducting private weddings in order to challenge the monopoly Israel's Rabbinate enjoys over marriages. The campaign is aimed primarily at immigrants from the former Soviet Union whose Judaism is often held in doubt, leading to their inability to marry inside Israel.

The organization says that seven rabbis have already been trained to conduct weddings and over 60 engaged couples are scheduled to hold their nuptials through them. Hashgacha Pratit stresses that it will operate with full transparency and within the framework of the law while coping with its limitations in bypassing the Rabbinate's monopoly.

"We call on couples that the Chief Rabbinate distances from Judaism not to give up on a Jewish wedding," said Hashgacha Pratit head Rabbi Aharon Leibowitz.

"The change that 'Huppot' initiative intends to make relates not only to the monopoly of the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on marriage and recognition of Judaism but also to the social and halachic aspects of proper weddings," he continued.

"Therefore, alongside strict adherence to halakhic policy devoid of the influence of improper political and gender considerations, we also place special emphasis on protecting couples. 'Huppot' will use the most advanced and effective legal and halachic tools available to protect the couple from cases of refusal to divorce, bigamy, and agunot."

Couples who marry through 'private supervision' will sign agreements and affidavits that can be enforced in the civil court system. The affidavits were formulated in consultation with the legal department of the Itim organization, and the agreements were developed by the Center for Women's Justice: