Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, founder of Israeli institute on Jewish law and technology, dies at 76


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, who founded a West Bank institute dedicated to Jewish law and technology, and established the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s conversion office, has died.

Rozen died Thursday at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem at 76.

He founded the Tzomet Institute, which works to adapt Jewish religious law to modern life and fit technology into Jewish law, in 1976, and remained its head until his death. Rozen also served as editor in chief of the institute’s annual journal, Techumim, which deals with modernity and Jewish law.

“His halakhic courage and distinction, as well as the relationships he formed with the greatest halakhic decisors of his generation, led to dozens of halakhic solutions that assisted the elderly and the disabled to live and keep the Sabbath according to Jewish law,” the institute said in a statement.

In 1995, Rozen was asked to launch the national conversion program of the Chief Rabbinate, which he also headed. He worked in various capacities in the program until recent years.

In August, Rozen resigned from the presidium of the Jewish Home party and threatened to quit the pro-settler party after the spokeswoman for Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett publicized the fact that she is a lesbian.

The Tel Aviv native served as a combat soldier in the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He studied electrical engineering at Bar-Ilan University.

He is survivied by his wife, Shlomit, and five children, as well as grandchildren.