Definitions

Edah Charedis

Edah HaChareidis

The Edah HaChareidis (Hebrew: העדה החרדית HaEdah HaChareidis The Chareidi Community), also written Edah Haredit, and popularly also known as the Badatz, is a prominent anti-Zionist Haredi communal organization in present-day Jerusalem, consisting of several Haredi groups representing most of the Yerushalmi (traditional pre-war) Jerusalem community. It provides all the facilities required by a Jewish community, including kashrus, mikvas, an eruv and a rabbinical court. The Edah HaChareidis is considered a continuation of the former leaders of the Yishuv haYashan, and is well known for being strongly opposed to Zionism, which it condemns as heretical and opposed to Judaism.

There is also an Edah HaCharedit HaSefaradit representing Sephardi Jewry. While the Sephardi Edah holds similar viewpoints to the Ashkenazi Edah regarding Zionism and the State of Israel, they are not officially affiliated with each other.

History

The Edah was founded by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld and Rabbi Yitzchok Yerucham Diskin (son of Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, Rabbi of Brisk, Lithuania) in 1919, prior to the establishment of the Chief Rabbinate by the Zionist movement under British auspices. Rabbi Sonnenfeld was named the first Av Beis Din of the Edah Chareidis, a position he held until his passing in 1932. His tenure saw the Ottoman Empire's control over the Land of Israel weakening, and the British gaining control of the British Mandate of Palestine after World War I.

The British chose to create a new Zionist rabbinical hierarchy under the newly-created Chief Rabbinate of Palestine, which later became the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook became the first Chief Rabbi in 1921. The Edah HaChareidis, which was - and still is - strongly anti-Zionist, resisted these moves and opposed the new British-created Zionist Chief Rabbinate.

Rabbi Sonnenfeld was succeeded by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky. He was succeeded by Rabbi Zelig Reuven Bengis, who was succeeded by the Satmar Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum. Rabbi Teitelbaum emigrated to the United States, but retained his position as Av Beis Din of the Edah HaChareidis. Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum's nephew, the late Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Satmar, was given the title of President, upon Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum's passing. Meanwhile, in 1945, Agudath Israel, formerly aligned with the Edah, broke away from it.

The lay leader of the Edah HaChareidis for many years was Gershon Stemmer, until his death in early 2007.

Anti-Zionist Ideology

The anti-Zionist stance of the Edah is supported by the book Vayoel Moshe, written by former Edah President and Chief Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, which is regarded as the standard using which all issues relating to the modern State of Israel are determined. For example, the Edah forbids voting in the elections for the Knesset, and forbids accepting any funding from the Israeli government (such as subsidies for schools and unemployment benefits), nor to accept Israeli citizenship through the Law of Return. According to Ynetnews, "It [the Edah} has declared an ideological war against the "heretic Zionist government"."

Despite the anti-Zionist stance of the Edah HaChareidis, a fragile cooperation is maintained with the state-run Chief Rabbinate, for example for the purpose of registering marriages and divorces (although this aspect does predate the state of Israel). On the other hand, converts to Judaism who convert through the Edah HaChareidis (like converts through all non-government organizations) are not recognized as Jews by the state for the purpose of obtaining Israeli citizenship via the Law of Return.

In 2002, the rabbinical leadership of the Edah wrote a complimentary introduction to Vayoel Moshe. The introduction mentioned: "and it is necessary to learn about this subject [of Zionism]... the holy book Vayoel Moshe will open [its readers] eyes to see [the reasons behind] all troubles and horrors of our time, and will prevent readers from being drawn after the Zionist heresy, may the Merciful One save us.

In 2006, during a campaign against the participation of Haredim in the Israeli parliamentary elections, the Edah accused the Zionists of having played a role in the Holocaust.

In March 2008, an article in the Edah's newspaper HaEdah blasted the 'first chassidic police officer' and the newspapers who had praised him, and called for him to be thrown out of the Haredi world. It referred to him as presenting his children to Molech. Addressing him personally, it said, "and even if you are great in your own eyes, you are worth nothing and an embarrassment to us", and, "we will continue our continuous war, the days of which are the same as the days of the existence of the Zionist entity, against them and against everything you represent.

Influence

Followers of the movements which constitute the Edah mainly live in the northern areas of Jerusalem (from Har Nof to Sanhedria) and Beit Shemesh. In practice, through its kashrus authority and halachic decisions made by its leaders, its influence is felt throughout Israel and in much of the Diaspora.

The Edah publicizes a weekly magazine called Ha'Edah ("The Edah"), written in Hebrew. This magazine is used to publicize the views of the leadership of the Edah on various issues, as well as articles on Jewish thought including the weekly Torah portion and biographies of deceased leaders of the Yerushalmi community.

Kashrus supervision

The Edah HaChareidis is known for its high standards in rabbinical supervision of kosher food, and is considered to be one of the strictest hechsheirim in Israel. It is often simply known as the hechsher of the "Badatz", which stands for Beis Din Tzedek or "Court [of] Righteous Law". Products certified by the Edah are marked with the well-known logo of the Edah.

The chareidi groups which comprise the Edah

The Edah is mainly formed by people whose ancestors arrived in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel long before the founding of the State of Israel. Many of them maintain the classical customs of Jerusalem - the Yerushalmi minhagim - such as the gold kaftan worn on Shabbos, seen in the picture on the right.

Prominent members of the rabbinical court of the Edah HaChareidis

Chief Rabbis (גאב"ד) of the Edah HaCharedis

  1. 1919-1932: Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849-1932)
  2. 1932-1948: Grand Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky (1st) of Dushinsky (1865-1949)
  3. 1947-1953: Rabbi Zelig Reuven Bengis (1864-1953)
  4. 1953-1979: Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1887-1979)
  5. 1979-1989: Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss (1901-1989; author of Minchas Yitzchak, formerly of Manchester Beth Din, England)
  6. 1989-1996: Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Freund (1904-1996; author of Ateres Yehoshua (Chassidei Satmar)
  7. 1996-2002: Grand Rabbi Yisroel Moshe Dushinsky (1921-2003; son of Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, listed above)
  8. 2002 to present: Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss (formerly dayan of Machsike Hadass community, Antwerp, Belgium)

Presidents (נשיא) of the Edah HaCharedis

  1. Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1887-1979)
  2. 1979-2006: Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Satmar (1914-2006)
  3. 2006-present: Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshiva of Brisk, current President of the Edah Charedis

Past members

Present members

Prominent rabbis affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis

External references

External links

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