(JNS.org) Rabbi David Lau, the chief
rabbi of Modiin, was named Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi on Wednesday evening,
alongside Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who was named the chief Sephardi rabbi.
Both of Israel’s new chief rabbis are the sons
for former chief rabbis: Lau’s father, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, served as the
chief Ashkenazi rabbi between 1993 and 2003, and Yosef’s father, Shas spiritual
leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, served as the chief Sephardi rabbi between 1973 and
The 150 electors responsible for choosing Israel’s
chief rabbis gave Lau, 47, and Yosef, 61, the same number of votes—68. The new
chief rabbis were elected for a 10-year term.
Lau’s main rival in the race, the
national-religious camp’s candidate Rabbi David Stav, received 54 votes; while
Yosef’s strongest rival, Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, received 49.
“This is a joyous occasion of course, but there
is also a sense of great responsibility,” Lau told Israel Hayom shortly after he was named the new chief rabbi. “I was
sitting by Father when the results came in. He hugged me and told me that I
have a heavy burden to carry. I pray that I will be everyone’s rabbi and that
the Chief Rabbinate will be everyone’s rabbinate.”
“I thank God that I have been blessed to sit on
the same chair as my father,” Yosef said.