Religion Magazine

Gradnfathered City Rabbi Being Forced out of His Position

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
The Ministry of Religious Affairs is reportedly trying to force the Chief Rabbi of Kfar Saba, Rav Avraham Shlush, to retire. Rav Shlush is 87 years old and they have discovered through reports and investigation that he is hardly functioning. It seems that he only goes into his office once a week for a short amount of time and he does not even live in the city - he lives in Jerusalem.
The problem is that despite the fact that the law was changed a while back limiting city rabbis to a maximum age of 70 with the possibility of an extension to 75, Rabbi Shlush is grandfathered into the old system of the appointment being for life. And the law now is that a city rabbi must live in the city he is rabbi of.  A further problem is that Rabbi Shlush was never formally appointed to the position, but started functioning in it unofficially in the 1950s and it just became his.
So they want to push him out, but the Minister of Religious Affairs, David Azoulai, is fighting to keep him in place, as it seems he and his family want him to retain the position.
In my opinion, this is the biggest support for the forcing of a retirement age. Here you have a rav not functioning and the city suffers because of it, but there is really nothing anyone can do about it. I do think that because he is grandfathered in, he should not be forced out and taken to court. He is a remnant of the old system, and that's the way it is, and this is the reason the law was changed. He should be pressured to retire with perhaps some coordination regarding the granting of an honorary position and title that might make him happy. Surely he and his family can be persuaded that for the good of the city it is time to move on and let a younger rabbi take this leadership position.
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