Rabbinate lifts restrictions on Tzohar rabbis officiating at weddings

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has agreed to lift restrictions on rabbis from the Tzohar organization conducting weddings.

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Under the agreement inked Thursday, Tzohar rabbis who meet certain criteria will be able to marry couples, The Jerusalem Post reported. In return, Tzohar pledged to withdraw a lawsuit against the Rabbinate and try to stop legislation that would have taken away the Rabbinate’s hegemony over who conducts marriages. 

The criteria, according to The Jerusalem Post, includes taking a test in the Jewish laws of marriage, the approval of three head municipal rabbis and a certificate of ordination from the Rabbinate.

Until now, community rabbis and yeshiva heads not officially employed by a local religious council needed special permission from the rabbinical council to officiate at weddings.

Tzohar helps to involve non-religious couples and their families in the wedding ceremony, marrying about 3,000 couples a year free of charge.

A Jewish couple must have a religious ceremony in Israel in order to be recognized as married. Many Israeli couples travel abroad to marry in secular ceremonies.
 

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