NEW YORK (Jul. 24)
An official of the Rabbinical Assembly, the association of Conservative rabbis, described today as “incorrect and confused” a statement by Israel’s Religious Affairs Minister that Conservative rabbis had not received permits to perform marriage or divorce ceremonies in Israel.
Zerach Warhaftig made that statement yester day in the Knesset in reply to a question from Aguda’s Yehuda Meir Abramovitz. The Religious Affairs Minister also said that the Chief Rabbin ate Council had investigated reports in the Israeli press to the effect that such permits had been is-sued and found them totally incorrect.
Rabbi-Wolfe Kelman, RA executive vice-president, said today that the statement regarding divorces was confused. He said that in Israel, divorce applications must go to rabbinical courts, and permits are not granted to rabbis to give divorces. In regard to marriages, Rabbi Kelman said, a number of RA members resident in Israel have, since 1948, been authorized permits to perform marriages. Permits come from the Religious Affairs Ministry.
Rabbi Kelman said “I know of at least three RA members” in Jerusalem who had such authorization. He said two had died and that the third Conservative rabbi still had the permit to perform weddings.