Harav Lord Jakobovits Torah Institute of Contemporary Issues (JICI)

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The Rabbinical Steering Committee for Policy Research Projects

As is common knowledge, in order to operate large-scale in Haredi society one must have the trust and support of leading Torah sages.The JICI has always recognized this and made it a central point in all of its endeavors.

Our efforts in that direction have reached a groundbreaking point in 2004, with the establishment of a Rabbinical Steering Committee for the JICI's Public Policy Research Department. The rabbis who agreed to serve in this committee are eminent in their own right, closely associated with and trusted by the leading Torah Sages in Israel, and knowledgeable on the topics the JICI is dealing with:

  • Rabbi Shmuel Deutsch,a confidant of Rabbi Elyashiv; founding member of Degel Hatorah party and Head of the Supervisory Rabbinical Committee of its daily, Yated Neeman;
  • Rabbi Nathan Zuchovsky and Rabbi Elyahu Ben-Shlomo, both confidants of Rabbi Steinman; the former is influential in the Degel HaTorah party and the latter is active in inter-sectoral dialogue forums;
  • The Tolna Rebbe, Rabbi Yitzchak M. Weinberg, a prominent educator, who is close to the House of the Gerrer Rebbes, the central force in Agudath Yisrael;
  • Rabbi Meir Luria,close in particular to the Rebbe of Slonim:
  • RabbiElyahu Abba-Shaul, a prominent Sephardic rabbi and son of leading Torah Sage and Leader, Benzion Abba-Shaul O.B.M.

In line with the JICI's ideological and practical emphasis on unity and cooperation, this committee will have representatives of all the main sections of Haredi society. It is worthwhile to note that a key member of the Eda Haredit community – the Ultra Orthodox of "Mea Shearim" – is participating in the committee's discussions as a guest participant. This, and extensive past contacts with top Eda Haredit officials, is indicative of JICI's ability to bring also the Haredi "fringes" to seriously consider its innovative plans.

Mr. Gershon Binnet of the Jerusalem Municipality serves as Secretary to the Committee, which has held two meetings to date.

The topics on the agenda are:


  • A deep re-evaluation of the present policy of the Haredi leadershipin regard to the State of Israel and Israeli society, examining various new ways of non-coercive and non-political lines of actions. It is hoped that these changes will make the relationships between religious and secular Jews much more peaceful, and strengthen the basic Jewish identity of the general Israeli public;

  • The obligation of Haredi society to solidarity with all Jews worldwide;
  • Ways in which dialogue between Secular, Religious and Haredi Jews can be maintained and amplified with the consent of leading Torah Sages;

  • Economic rehabilitation of the Haredi society,including a thorough examination of the possibility of large-scale professional training with the agreement of leading Torah Sages.

In the sittings held till now Committee members have expressed their deep concern for the present state of affairs in Haredi and Israeli society, and were unanimous in agreeing that major changes in the way matters are dealt with internally and externally must be considered.

It is expected that both the actual academic input of this committee, and its standing with the leaders of the Torah world and the Haredi public will be prove very significant for JICI's projects.


 
 
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