Reform RabbisA Supreme Court justice today issued a “show cause order” to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the chief rabbinate to explain why Reform rabbis should not be licensed to perform marriages. The Ministry and rabbinate have 45 days to answer the order, which could signal the start of a legal process on a point of principle hitherto never challenged in Israel’s courts.

Justice Dov Levin gave the order at the request of members of the Progressive Judaism Movement in Israel. Their attorney argued that under Israeli law every sect can be married by spiritual leaders of its own faith — and it is under this provision that Neturei Karta rabbis, who do not accept the authority of the State of Israel, receive State licenses to perform marriages. Reform rabbis should be no worse off than these, the applicants argued.