TIBERIAS (Jan. 17)
Israel’s Minister of Religion Rabbi Judah Maimon today issued a moving appeal to all chief rabbis in Israel to summon a national conference of practicing rabbis to discuss the possibility of reestablishing the Sanhedrin. (The Sanhedrin was the ancient Jewish tribunal which interpreted Jewish law and enacted decrees for religious observance.)
“I insist on a renewal of the Sanhedrin because I believe it is necessary for the needs of the hour and for our duty towards the future,” the Minister of Religion said, speaking at a celebration here dedicated to the ideals of the Sanhedrin. Delivering his speech at the grave of Rabbi Jochanan Ben Zakkai, who was president of the Sanhedrin at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E., the Minister recalled the failure of Napoleon to reconstitute the Sanhedrin in 1807.
Rabbi Maimon quoted the Talmud as saying that the Sanhedrin would be reestablished in Tiberias. He said that the Mosiac laws have remained unchanged throughout the centuries largely because there was no authority to adapt them to the needs of later ages.