The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) has nominated Rabbi Ze’ev Smason to serve a three-year term on its Executive Committee. Rabbi Smason is the spiritual head of Nusach Hari B’nai Zion (NHBZ).
The RCA is one of the world’s largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis, as well as a very important voice in the general Jewish world. The RCA, established in 1935, seeks to promote the welfare, interests, and professionalism of rabbis all around the world. Membership in the RCA is held by close to 1,000 ordained rabbis, spread throughout 14 countries.
Rabbi Smason attributes his nomination to the RCA Nominating Committee’s interest in including diverse perspectives – religiously, geographically, and culturally – on its Executive Committee.
NHBZ, he points out, has been described as an “unorthodox” Orthodox synagogue. He takes pride in the steps the congregation has taken to commit to community building and service to the general Jewish community not only by making traditional Judaism accessible, but also in focusing on points of commonality, and breaking misconceptions.
“We’re different now from our original purpose; there’s a different reason for being here,” says Rabbi Smason. “In real life there are very few Orthodox or Conservative or Reform Jews; there are Jews who have wide and varying degrees of familiarity with their own religion. If you ask me if we’re Orthodox, I’d say ‘yes’ because we are committed to traditional values and Jewish law. But I’d follow that up with the qualifier that we are very unorthodox in our approach.”