(Feb. 12, 2014) Chief rabbis are most important. They have power. They impose customs and rituals. They enforce them. They alone decide whoâs a Jew and whoâs not.
They determine whoâs married, whoâs divorced, who may marry, who may not, and who may marry whom.
They decide which children are legitimate and which arenât. They have enormous influence over Israeli policy.
A civil judge âsolemnly promise(s) to be loyal to the State of Israel and its laws.â A rabbinic judge pledges only âto be loyal to the State of Israel.â
Israel has two chief rabbis. Ashkenazi and Sephardi ones. Theyâre elected to 10-year terms.
Israelâs Chief Rabbinate Council assists them. They alternate as presidents of Israelâs Rabbinical Supreme Court.
Itâs the religious equivalent to Israelâs High Court of Justice. They serve five years each. They switch to head the Chief Rabbinate Council.
David Lau is Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi. Yiszhak Yosef is his Sephardi counterpart.