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Rift Between Israeli Rabbinate, Indian Jews, Seems Near Settlement

The recent rift between the Indian Bnei Israel Jewish community here and the Chief Rabbinate, over limitations placed on marriages between members of that community and other Israeli Jews, appeared to be nearing settlement today, with the decision to send an Orthodox rabbi to India to provide needed religious instruction to the ancient Indian Jewish community.

While marriages between Bnei Israel Jews and other Israeli Jews are not banned, the Chief Rabbinate announced that it would be up to local rabbinic authorities to decide on performing such marriages. The advisability of allowing such marriages was open to question because the religious marriage code practiced by the Bnei Israel community had been different from that practiced generally by Orthodox Jews elsewhere, the Chief Rabbinate said.

The decision to send an Orthodox rabbi to India, resulted from mediation efforts by Dr. Arien Tartakower, Israeli chairman of the World Jewish Congress, prompted by concern over the issue by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, WJC president. Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim was reported to have indicated during a meeting with New Delhi Jewish leader B. Benjamin, that he would reconsider the marriage limitations if the Orthodox rabbi were sent to India. Rabbi Nissim said that the rabbi would be able to rectify a situation where the Bnei Israel community was in need of religious instruction.

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