This letter was circulated by Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, in response to Israel's Supreme Court decision to pay fifteen non-Orthodox rabbis for their work in rural communities. The rabbis will be paid not by the Ministry of Religion, as Orthodox rabbis are, but by the Ministry of Culture and Sport. Full translation is below.
A Letter Addressed to all Rabbis in Every Part of the Country,
May God be With Them
We hereby make known our distress and deep pain about the desecration of Heaven’s honor, about the trampling of the Torah, and about the aid and comfort given to those who uproot and destroy Judaism, people who have already brought horrendous destruction on the Jewish people in the Diaspora, by causing terrible assimilation and an uprooting of all of the fundamental principles of the Torah.
These people now seek recognition in the Land of Israel as well, so that uprooters of the faith will be recognized as religious leaders. Woe to us that this is happening in our time – that heads are held high by enemies of God, wicked people who are like the turbulent sea that cannot be quieted, their entire aim being to do harm to the sanctity and purity of Torah in our holy land. So we declare before one and all: “This will not stand!”
We are therefore calling on one and all to assemble for a deliberative rally, to cry out bitterly on behalf of the Torah, and to entreat the Almighty to void this evil decree, to preserve our holy Torah as it was given, to keep it untouched by alien hands, and to stop those who would sabotage [modern Hebrew: commit terrorism] and destroy the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts.
WE WILL ALL GATHER ON TUESDAY, 6 TAMMUZ AT 2:00 P.M.
AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE CHIEF RABBINATE OF ISRAEL
No one should be absent at such a time, when the participation of all Rabbis is essential, so that each can lend support to his brother and give one another strength. Let us be strong and supportive on behalf of our holy Torah, and on behalf of the Jewish people, so that the wall of its vineyard not be breached. May the One who repairs all breaches repair this one as well in mercy, and put repentance into the hearts of those of errant ideas, so that they come to believe that this Torah will never be replaced or changed, God forbid.
Shlomo Moshe Amar
Rishon Le-Tziyon, Chief Rabbi of Israel
(Translation by Rabbi Gordon Tucker)