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Tuesday, November 04, 2014 

Law approved for barring rabbis from wrongfully charging money for services

A special law's been passed by the Knesset that keeps city rabbis from charging money for services like weddings:
A bill proposed by MK Shuli Muallem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) to prevent municipal rabbis from charging couples for performing their wedding ceremonies was passed into law on Monday night.

Currently, according to the law, rabbis working in a particular religious council, from which they receive a salary, are able to charge money from couples for performing their wedding even if one of the spouses live in the same district for which the local religious council is responsible.

The law does prevent a rabbi from charging couples for this service if one of the spouses lives in his specific neighborhood, but not if they live in the broader municipal area covered by the religious council which pays his salary.

Muallem explained that the reasoning behind the law was to help young couples who are unaware of their rights within the religious bureaucracy, and would particularly benefit non-religious couples who do not have a close relationship with any particular rabbi, the MK explained.

[...] Any rabbi who takes money or a gift for conducting a wedding in contravention of the guidelines stipulated in the new law will be subject to disciplinary procedures.

Additionally, information regarding the rights of couples to have a state-employed rabbi perform their wedding without charge must be posted prominently in marriage registration offices.

Several haredi MKs have opposed the law arguing that it prevents public workers from supplementing their wages.

Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev said on Monday that the law disparaged state-employed rabbis and assumed they were out to make money.

“The trend behind this law is to say ‘look, rabbis take money’. This is a framework of slander, rabbis don’t demand or charge money,” he claimed.

Muallem defended the bill, saying that it was an important step to reduce alienation of the non-religious public from the religious establishment.
Exactly. And despite what that Shas MK is saying, there are some rabbis who've violated requirements and taken people's money against the rules. I think anybody who's been ripped off by a rabbi should sue them to get the dough back too.

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