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[Heb.,=my master; my teacher], the title of a Jewish spiritual leader. The role of the rabbi has undergone a number of transformations. In the Talmudic period, rabbis were primarily teachers and interpreters of the Torah. They developed the liturgy, calendar, and other aspects of post-Temple Judaism. During the Middle Ages, the post of rabbi became a professional one, with the incumbent taking on the additional role of supervision of the religious life of the community. Rabbis of the Reform and Conservative movements pay considerable attention to pastoral and administrative duties, as well as preaching. Orthodox rabbis have to some extent also taken on such duties, although they continue to stress the traditional roles of judging, teaching, and studying Torah. The state of Israel has a dual chief rabbinate, representing the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities. Rabbis have traditionally been male, but in the 20th cent. the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative movements began to ordain women.


See L. Ginzberg, Students, Scholars, and Saints (1985); J. R. Marcus and A. J. Peck, The American Rabbinate (1985).



the leader of a Jewish congregation. The rabbi explains the religion’s tenets, resolves problems of ritual, conducts rites, and in the synagogue delivers a sermon with a religious and moral content. During the Middle Ages and the modern period, the rabbi directed both the religious affairs and the political and economic life of the Jewish community. In present-day Israel, the rabbinate supports the reactionary domestic and expansionist foreign policy of the government.


1. (in Orthodox Judaism) a man qualified in accordance with traditional religious law to expound, teach, and rule in accordance with this law
2. the religious leader of a congregation; the minister of a synagogue
3. the Rabbis the early Jewish scholars whose teachings are recorded in the Talmud
References in periodicals archive ?
This is because, as a group, they recognize Judaism as having one halacha and one rabbinate, and they do not challenge its official representatives.
The notion of the chief rabbinate is antithetical to Israel's essence as a Jewish and democratic state.
The continued existence of the chief rabbinate, the monopolistic rabbinic Supreme Court and the religious council serve a political purpose as a trading item for the secular political powers to the haredi political parties in return for their support of the coalition government.
But a chief rabbinate is antithetical to the concept of "select unto yourself a rabbi," which is based on voluntary association and not on coercive external appointment.
However, I think that we have an opportunity now, more than ever before, to create an official rabbinate that would in fact promote religious pluralism, but this would depend upon how we define religious pluralism.
A rabbinate that would promote tolerance can promote Jewish values and even halacha, but it needs to set its sights on inclusivity.
There is a way to have a halachic rabbinate that can coexist with religious pluralism in Israel, and I don't think that it demands that halacha be changed.
Unfortunately, given the track record of the chief rabbinate of the State of Israel for the past 65 years, the chief rabbinate must be abolished as soon as possible in order to allow Judaism to flourish in Israel.
The two new chief rabbis were elected in July 2013 after a lengthy political campaign because they are the sons of previous chief rabbis and because they are beholden to haredi political parties, which do not recognize the chief rabbinate.
The chief rabbinate holds a monopoly on conversions.
The sad fact of the matter is that the chief rabbinate of Israel is a coercive bureaucracy without a constituency It is disliked by haredim, religious Zionists, Conservative and Reform Jews and secular Israelis alike, and many of its actions are a Hillul Hashem, or desecration of God's name.
The problem with the chief rabbinate is its legal authority.