Kfar Chabad residents complained recently that their rabbi does not allow qualified residents to perform marriages which take place in their town.
After residents complained their local rabbi forbade other rabbis to perform marriages, attorney Yaron Huberman turned to the Religious Services Ministry's legal adviser and insisted he get involved.
"I was recently informed of a situation in which a couple who wished to marry in Kfar Chabad, which is under the jurisdiction of the Lod Valley Regional Council, suffered severe embarrassment and abuse," Huberman wrote. "Neither the husband nor the wife was a resident of Kfar Chabad, and they brought a rabbi of their own choosing to perform the marriage."
"Kfar Chabad's Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi, who is not qualified by the Rabbinate, and as far as I know is also not qualified to perform marriages, prevented the couple's chosen rabbi from performing the marriage, and insisted on doing it himself.
"This caused much the couple and their families much anguish.
"In addition, Rabbi Ashkenazi forbids local qualified rabbis, residents of Kfar Chabad who are ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, from performing marriages in the town's halls.
"Please clarify the policies with the Lod Valley Regional Council, and tell Kfar Chabad's residents via letter and/ or formal announcements in synagogues and elsewhere, that any rabbi with the proper qualifications from the Chief Rabbinate may perform marriages within Kfar Chabad, and no one may prevent him from doing so."
In a response published on Tuesday morning, the Lod Valley Religious Council said, "According to instructions from the Religious Services Ministry, we allow any couple marrying within the jurisdiction of the Lod Valley Regional Council to choose whichever rabbi they want to perform their marriage, as long as his name appears in the Chief Rabbinate's list of rabbis qualified to perform marriages."