Hundreds of rabbis from all walks of religious Zionism participated on Thursday evening in a convention at Binyanei Ha'uma in Jerusalem, in honor of Jerusalem and on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.
The rabbis gathered for roundtable discussions on a variety of topics: Comprehensive schools, postmodernism, reform and conservatives - their place in society and coping with their influence, family - divorce, marriage, gender and feminism, the Sabbath in Israel, public Torah study, responsibility for today's Judaism, women in synagogue and in the community, and challenges in the IDF.
Rabbi Aryeh Stern, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, called on religious Zionist rabbis to unite around two common goals – maintaining the Sabbath in the public sphere and fighting corruption. "I propose setting a common goal that everyone agrees on. The most important thing right now is strengthening the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. There is a feeling of contempt and this needs to be corrected.”
"Maintaining the Sabbath in the public sphere is the most central thing in our identity, which gives expression to the fact that this is a Jewish state. We all need to act and talk about it, in yeshivot and communities. Another common goal is public life, which should be a life of modesty and minimalism. We must act to prevent manifestations of corruption and social gaps. These are the basic and central things around which we must be united, and they will also be heard by the secular public," said Rabbi Stern.
Rabbi Zalman Melamed, the president of Beit El institutions and the initiator of the conference, was very excited when he went up to the lectern and recited the Shehecheyanu blessing. "I have been waiting for this great conference for many days. When I see all the important rabbis sitting here together, the heart is full of joy, and the joy is breaking out. I would like to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. Our rabbis who sit in heaven are certainly happy to see us here," he said.
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, the president of the Bnei Akiva yeshivot, also expressed excitement at the conference and emphasized the need for unity. "There is tremendous value when we elevate G-d’s name together. We are all aware of the differences that exist within us, we do not ignore them, yet despite all the disagreements, what unites us is above and beyond the differences of opinion.”