Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabonim Reaffirms its 75 Year Position of Supporting the Israeli Chief Rabbinate in having Exclusive and Complete Control Over Prayer Services at the Kotel.
Brooklyn, NY: Sunday, November 19, 2017 the monthly Torah Convocation and Seudas Rosh Chodesh for the month of Kislev was held at the gracious home of Rabbi Yehoshua Balkany; Menahel of Beis Yaakov of Brooklyn with more than sixty member Rabbis of the Rabbinical Alliance of America present.
The evening was graced with the attendance of senior Rabbis including the Igud HaRabonim venerable Av Beth Din Rav Herschel Kurzrock Shlit’a accompanied by the Presidium Member Rabbi Yaakov Klass who extended greetings and Divrei Torah. The host Rabbi Yehoshua Blakany presented an erudite and captivating Dvar Torah uniting aspects of Halacha and Medrash uniting the themes of Kislev the Patriarch Jacob and Chanukah.
Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht of Norwalk, CT addressed the Rabbis present who hail from the most prominent Yeshivas in America and Israel. Rabbi Hecht noted that the Rabbinical Alliance of America represents the “large tent” of our Patriarch Abraham that was open to accept all and to embrace all with kindness and love.
He continued that the Igud is also representative of being the students of Aaron Kohen Gadol emulating Aaron’s outreach to bringing people closer to the Torah with camaraderie and friendship. Never compromising the standards of Torah, Aaron endeavored to bring all closer to the standard of Torah as recorded in Ethics of our Fathers.
However, there are moments that the RAA is compelled to issue a strongly worded statement when the integrity of Torah and the people of Israel are threatened.
The following prepared statement ratified by acclimation and issued by the Rabbinical Alliance of America in response to the disturbing controversy surrounding the KOTEL area being stirred up by radical elements:
Statement issued Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht; Chairman of the RAA Presidium
On behalf of the RAA
Statement by the *Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabonim
For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest,
until her righteousness comes out like brilliance, and her salvation burns like a torch. (Isaiah 62:1)
We the undersigned Rabbis and Spiritual Leaders of congregations, Chaplains, Heads of Yeshivot and Communal organizations –representing the broad spectrum of observant American Jewry — reiterate our complete and absolute support of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel headed by Rav Yisrael Lau and Chacham Yitzchak Yosef in backing the separate gender prayer areas at the KOTEL HAMARAVI (Western Wall).
We concur that the establishment of a mixed gender pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall contravenes the time hallowed traditions associated with prayer and communal gatherings at this most holy site of our people –the sacred Temple Mount area.
We join in support of the Chief Rabbinate’s call to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Knesset to resist any mixed gender prayer space at the KOTEL thereby maintaining true Jewish unity and peace. The KOTEL is not the place for political posturing and strife that the liberal Reform and Conservative movements are fomenting from within Israel and overseas.
The time hallowed and established religious customs of our people (Halacha) continue to unite and preserve the unity amongst the Jewish people of all backgrounds and levels of observance.
We view the unreasonable demand for a mixed gender prayer space at the Western Wall area as being a gratuitous disregard of millennia of Jewish tradition and a desecration of the MAKOM HAMIKDASH — a defilement and violation — to all that pertains to this most holy and venerated site of our national heritage and belief.
Let us together respect the call of Isaiah “I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them rejoice in My house of prayer…My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”.
Observing the multitudes of people and nationalities visiting the KOTEL who observe and respect the separation of the genders during prayer at the KOTEL –it behooves the liberal elements agitating for change, to do the same.
May the One who makes peace in the Heavenly heights make peace upon us and upon all Israel, Amen.
Ratified by Acclimation: November 19, 2017 – Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5778
Rabbi Herschel Kurzrock, Av Beit Din
Rabbi Dov Aaron Brisman, Rosh Beth Din
Rabbi Shamarya Shulman, Honorary President
Rabbi Hanania Elbaz, Brooklyn, NY – Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, Norwalk CT
Rabbi Yaakov Klass, Brooklyn, NY – Rabbi Yaakov Spivak, Monsey NY
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, Executive Vice President
*The Rabbinical Alliance of America, a National Rabbinic Organization was founded in 1942 with the mission to preserve and promote authentic Torah true Judaism in North America. The RAA membership consists of 950 Rabbis serving throughout the United States, Canada and overseas.
Names in Photo Left to Right
Rabbi Moshe Weiner; Rabbi Joseph Salamon, vice-president, RAA/IGUD, chairman Rosh Chodesh Conference; Rabbi Yoel Ehrenreich; Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, presidium chairman, RAA/IGUD; Rabbi A. Yehoshua Balkany, Menahel Bais Yaakov of Brooklyn; Rabbi Herschel Kurzrock, Av Bais Din RAA/IGUD; Rabbi Hanania Elbaz, presidium member, RAA/IGUD; Rabbi Yaakov Klass; premium member RAA/IGUD; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president, RAA/IGUD; Rabbi Aharon Zeev, Aur Torah Sephardic Congregation of Staten Island