Over 100 Sephardic Rabbis from around the world took part in a special conference this week in Yerushalayim. The conference was the founding of the World Union of Sephardic Rabbis.
Leading Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshivah of the Sephardic Torah world attended and spoke at the various panels held for the participating Rabbis.
Among the speakers was Hagaon Harav Shalom Cohen, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivat Porat Yosef, and Nasi of the Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah of Shas, shlita; the Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Harav Yitzchak Yosef, shlita, and many others.
The Rabbis also davened at the kever of Hagaon Harav Ovadia Yosef, zt”l, in Yerushalayim.
In his address to the Rabbis, Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri criticized the reform movement. “I am asked by many,” he said, “‘Why do you fight for Jewish causes? Why don’t you make a compromise for the Kosel, or on conversions?'”
He said that granting recognition to progressive Jewish movements that do not follow Halachah would only harm the Jewish nation in the future. “If we want the Jewish people to be united, then we need to strengthen it around something that has united it for years: the Torah of the Jewish people,” Rabbi Deri said.
“Any recognition of communities with a different type of observance of Judaism will create questions that you will have to deal with, which come from recognizing something that is not the Torah of the Jewish people,” he added.
Rabbi Deri reiterated his opposition to granting recognition to the reform movement. “They cause assimilation and destruction of the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Deri told the Rabbis present that in their positions overseas they were “on the front lines of assimilation.”