Rabbanim Address Conference of World Union of Sephardic Rabbis

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Sephardic Rabbis Union Conference in Jerusalem, on December 6, 2016. Photo by Yaakov Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** כנס איחוד הרבנים הספרדי העולמי שנערך לראשונה רבנים אריה דרעי כינוס הרבנים הספרדים בהשתתפות נשיא מועצת חכמי התורה הרב שלום כהן הרב בעדני הרב אלבז הרב יצחק יוסף שר הפנים דרעי הרב טוויל רבה הראשי של מקסיקו ועוד רבנים ספרדים מכל העולם
Harav Yitzchak Yosef speaks at the Sephardic Rabbis Conference on Tuesday. (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)

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.

Torah Sages Council President Rabbi Shalom Cohen speaks at the Sephardic Rabbis Union Conference in Jerusalem, on December 6, 2016. Photo by Yaakov Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** כנס איחוד הרבנים הספרדי העולמי שנערך לראשונה רבנים אריה דרעי כינוס הרבנים הספרדים בהשתתפות נשיא מועצת חכמי התורה הרב שלום כהן הרב בעדני הרב אלבז הרב יצחק יוסף שר הפנים דרעי הרב טוויל רבה הראשי של מקסיקו ועוד רבנים ספרדים מכל העולם
Harav Shalom Cohen speaks. (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)

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.”

Members of the Sephardic Rabbis Union visit at the grave of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Jerusalem, on December 6, 2016. Photo by Yaakov Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** כנס איחוד הרבנים הספרדי העולמי שנערך לראשונה רבנים רב עובדיה יוסף קבר ביקור
Members of the Sephardic Rabbis Union daven at the kever of Harav Ovadia Yosef, on Tuesday. (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)