Saturday, January 1, 2011

Choose your own rabbi

For two thousand years, Jews all over the world maintained large and small communities without asking or desiring the financial support of the country where they lived. For two thousand years there had not be any such thing as a Jewish Pope, to direct everybody's religious life from the top down. Every community took care to appoint the rabbi of its choice, and also took care to maintain and pay him. The time might have come to restore this old Jewish tradition in today's Israel. Those who want a racist as their spiritual guide – and regrettably, we seem to have such people among us – should at the least be asked to dip into their own pocket and help pay his salary. Those who want a rabbi who isn't a racist – hopefully, there are such, too – would take part in maintaining the rabbi of their choice. And those who see no need of any rabbi's guidance would be free to spend their money on things they consider important.

(Perhaps in this way we would still see in this country also rabbis to whom enlightened people would be interested to listen.)