The state began paying the salaries of four reform rabbis from the start of the year – eight years after Rabbi Miri Gold of Gezer petitioned the High Court of Justice and one year after the court ordered the state to begin paying the salaries of the four rabbis, all of whom work for local authorities.
The salaries continue to be paid by the Reform Movement, according to MyNet, but now the movement receives a state budget to cover them, just as it pays for Orthodox rabbis.
"In principle, I don't think the state should pay the salaries of rabbis," says Rabbi Benjy Gruber, one of the four. "But so long as it is paying for rabbis from other streams, it should pay for us as well. That what we demanded: equality."
Gruber, 38, from Yahel, immigrated to Israel at the age of five. He was educated in the Zionist Religious system and was part of the group that established the hesder yeshiva in Yeruham. At the age of 20, he says," I underwent an upheaval. I found myself in the reform world."
The court's decision is definitely good news for world Jewry, Gruber says. "I will soon be travelling to visit Jewish communities in Australia and Hong Kong on behalf of the Reform Movement. Among other things, I'll be telling them about this change. It's important to prove to them that there is democracy and religious tolerance in Israel and there is more than one way of being a Jew."
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