Forced Assimilation in Israel

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Ethiopian Jews Arriving in Israel During Operation Solomon

One of my favorite things about visiting Israel is the diversity of Jewish people, practices and customs. In particular, the Kotel is a special place for so many Jewish people and even non-Jewish people. I always marvel at the beauty of the stones and all the people there to soak in their glory.

The only shul that I know of that rivals the Kotel in diversity is the Shul on the Beach where I am the rabbi. It really is remarkable. It is not quite the diversity of the Kotel, but Pacific Jewish Center is probably a slightly distant second.

Unfortunately, there are some people who do not value diversity. Some people desire uniformity in action, thought and dress. The latest victim of this attitude was chronicled in a recent AP article.

The Israeli rabbinate has proclaimed that the Ethiopian Jewish community religious leaders, called kessoch, no longer be recognized by the State of Israel. The control over who is recognized as a legitimate spiritual leader in Israel is in the hands of the Rabbinate. Read…