Rabbinic Statement of Concern


Rabbinic Statement of Concern

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is reportedly backing the candidacy of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu to the post of Chief Rabbi.  Rabbi Eliyahu’s history of divisive statements and actions is, unfortunately, a matter of long record. 

Prominent rabbinic voices from all streams of American Judaism are serving as convening signers on a letter of concern, which we will deliver to Mayor Barkat in advance of the upcoming election for Jerusalem Chief Rabbi. Several of the mayor’s appointees sit on the municipal commission that elects the chief rabbi, and that is the reason we are directing our sentiments to him.

We need to let Mayor Barkat know that appointing a rabbi with a history of extremist, exclusionary behavior as Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem sends exactly the wrong message.

Rabbis are invited to sign onto the statement below.

שַׁאֲלוּ, שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם;  יִשְׁלָיוּ, אֹהֲבָיִךְ

Seek the welfare of Jerusalem; those who love you shall prosper. (Psalms 122:6)

To the Honorable Nir Barkat:

We, rabbis serving Jewish communities throughout the world, write to express our concern regarding the possible nomination of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu to the post of Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

As Israel’s capital and the center of our spiritual lives, Jerusalem has special significance to Jewish communities the world over. But Jerusalem’s special status does not blind us to your challenges. In a city too often divided between Jews and Arabs, and between various streams of Orthodox, liberal and secular Jews, we must seek leaders who would work to unite the city’s peoples for amity and progress.

Rabbi Eliyahu has a history of divisive and controversial statements and actions. He took the lead in issuing a halachic ruling forbidding Israeli Jews to lease property to Arabs. He opposes military service in the IDF for women. He has characterized Arabs and Muslims in racist, derogatory language. And he was deemed unfit for the office of Chief Rabbi of Israel by Israel’s Attorney General.

Mayor Barkat, you bear the responsibility for ensuring that Jerusalem is a prosperous and welcoming city for all its inhabitants. We believe that Rabbi Eliyahu’s ascension to the chief rabbinate would send a signal of intolerance and divisiveness at a time when Jerusalem cries out for unity and social justice. The position of Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem has been vacant for many years.

As you consider filling this position, please consider the deep connection to Jerusalem among Jews worldwide, and the symbolic nature of a Chief Rabbi’s tasks, which should indeed exemplify a light unto the nations and a sensibility worthy of the unique history and meaning of the city.


Rabbi Elka Abrahamson
Rabbi Andy Bachman
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl
Rabbi Sharon Brous
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbi Elliot Dorff
Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Rabbi David Ellenson
Rabbi Denise Eger
Rabbi Laura Geller
Rabbi Irving Greenberg
Rabbi Shai Held
Rabba Sara Hurwitz
Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Rabbi Irwin Kula
Rabbi Joy Levitt
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Rabbi Brian Lurie
Rabbi Roly Matalon
Rabbi Yehudah Mirsky
Rabbi Danny Nevins
Rabbi David Rosenn
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn
Rabbi David Saperstein
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld
Rabbi Sid Schwarz
Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
Rabbi Ethan Tucker
Rabbi Gordon Tucker
Rabbi Burt Visotzky
Rabbi Deborah Waxman
Rabbi Steven Wernick
Rabbi David Wolpe

And those signed below:
This petition is no longer active.
826-850 of 1006 signatures
Number Date Name Location
181 Tue Feb 04 12:59:53 EST 2014 David Wolkenfeld Chicago, IL , US
180 Tue Feb 04 12:59:41 EST 2014 Marcelo Rittner Mexico, ot , Mexico
179 Tue Feb 04 12:59:33 EST 2014 Rachel S. Mikva Chicago, IL , US
178 Tue Feb 04 12:59:10 EST 2014 Andy Shapiro Katz Beer Sheva, ot , Israel
177 Tue Feb 04 12:58:55 EST 2014 Eric Solomon Raleigh, NC , US
176 Tue Feb 04 12:55:58 EST 2014 Rabbi John Rosove Sherman Oaks, CA , US
175 Tue Feb 04 12:54:35 EST 2014 Michael L Kramer Hockessin, DE , US
174 Tue Feb 04 12:53:55 EST 2014 Seymour Friedman Aventura, FL , US
173 Tue Feb 04 12:53:37 EST 2014 Akiva Herzfeld Portland, ME , US
172 Tue Feb 04 12:53:03 EST 2014 Adrian Gottfried Sao Paulo, ot , BR
171 Tue Feb 04 12:53:01 EST 2014 Sara Perman Greensburg, PA , US
170 Tue Feb 04 12:52:37 EST 2014 Mona Alfi Sacramento, CA , US
169 Tue Feb 04 12:52:14 EST 2014 Joanna Samuels New York, NY , US
168 Tue Feb 04 12:50:34 EST 2014 Dana Magat San Jose, CA , US
167 Tue Feb 04 12:49:18 EST 2014 Ira Schiffer Middlebury, VT , US
166 Tue Feb 04 12:48:49 EST 2014 Brian Fink Brooklyn, NY , US
165 Tue Feb 04 12:47:52 EST 2014 Julie Saxe-Taller Berkeley, CA , US
164 Tue Feb 04 12:47:45 EST 2014 Chana Thompson Shor Kew Gardens, NY , US
163 Tue Feb 04 12:47:00 EST 2014 Rachel Bat-Or Los Angeles, CA , US
162 Tue Feb 04 12:46:01 EST 2014 Steven Mason Glencoe, IL , US
161 Tue Feb 04 12:44:56 EST 2014 Jay Moses US
160 Tue Feb 04 12:44:26 EST 2014 Howard Shapiro Palm Bch Gdns, FL , US
159 Tue Feb 04 12:44:00 EST 2014 Henry Zoob Westwood, MA , US
158 Tue Feb 04 12:41:54 EST 2014 Jerome Epstein FL , US
157 Tue Feb 04 12:40:03 EST 2014 Max Weiss Oak Park, IL , US
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*This rabbinic statement is sponsored by the New Israel Fund.

We request that only rabbis sign this statement.