Rabbi Stav
Rabbi StavYoni Kempinski

The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization announced that their rabbinical volunteers around the country are scheduled to perform close to 650 marriage ceremonies this month.

Tzohar, which commemorates its 20th anniversary this year, allows couples to be married according to halacha and Israeli law but bypass the direct involvement of the central religious authorities charged with oversight for marriage and divorce.

Tzohar assigns each couple a rabbi who carries them through the entire pre-marriage and wedding process, claiming to be "an informed, compassionate and non-judgmental" alternative to the Chief Rabbinate.

“The growing success of our marriage program is a testament to the need that we see amongst young Israelis for a compassionate partner at this all-important time in their lives and not simply a bureaucrat who will just rubber stamp – or deny- their wedding request,” says Rabbi David Stav, Founder and Chairman of Tzohar. “The feelings of alienation that can be imposed by a dispassionate clerk from the Chief Rabbinate who cares little for the emotions and background of a couple can leave them feeling not only uncared for, but has the longer-term effect of pushing young Israelis away from tradition, religious observance and even pride in their Jewish identities.”

Since its founding in 1996, Tzohar has performed over 50,000 weddings. Most months see between 350 and 400 weddings, making September a record-breaking month for the organization.

“We are proud that we are able to offer these couples this option which reminds them that Jewish tradition is about beauty and kindness and that’s more true than ever at this happy time in their lives,” says Rabbi Boaz Genut, Director of Tzohar’s Marriage Program. “We wish every one of these young couples the biggest of mazal tov wishes and look forward to helping many thousands more in the months and years ahead.”