Aryeh Stern

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Aryeh Stern
Rabbi Stern.jpg
Born27 November 1944
ResidenceKatamon, Jerusalem, Israel

Aryeh Stern (Hebrew: אריה שטרן, born 27 November 1944) is the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem,[1] a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel, and the chief editor of the Halacha Brura and Berur Halacha Institute.


Aryeh Stern was born in 1944 in Tel Aviv, and studied at the HaYishuv HaChadash yeshiva, led by Rabbi Yehuda Kolodetsky. Stern then moved to the Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and after a short while to the Mercaz HaRav Kook yeshiva, following his rabbi who served as its head, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. After Rabbi Stern married, he commenced his studies for dayanut, Jewish-religious judgeship, in the Tel Aviv kolel of Rabbi Ephraim Bordiansky, who also instructed Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.

Rabbi Stern fought in the Six-Day War in the Combat Engineering Corps, and in the Yom Kippur War.

Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook appointed Rabbi Stern and Rabbi Yochanan Fried to establish the Halacha Brura and Berur Halacha Institution, which Rabbi Stern has since run. The Halacha Brura was one of the chief works of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the father of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. The institution is known for its method of Talmud study, first developed by Rabbi A.I. Kook, in which the final Halachic opinion of Maimonides and the Shulchan Aruch is summarized, alongside the approaches of other commentaries.

Following the passing of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook in 1982, Rabbi Stern was appointed as lecturer in the Mercaz HaRav Kook yeshiva.[2] He also lectures in other yeshivas, including Yeshivat HaKotel, Yeshivat Kiryat Shmona, Yeshivat Or Etzion, and Yeshivat Hesder Petah Tikva. Rabbi Stern was the head of Hadrom high school yeshiva in Rehovot, and was one of the founders of the Ma'aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts for the religious-national sector in 1989. In addition, he has been instrumental in the organization of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook's House in Jerusalem, an active museum of Rabbi Kook's life, and in the establishment of the Merchavim Institute for training teachers and religious educators. Over the years, Rabbi Stern has written hundreds of Halachic responsa and religious-philosophical articles regarding Jewish thought.

Alongside his religious and educational activities, he serves as congregational rabbi at the Har Horev synagogue in the Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem.[3]

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem[edit]

Rabbi Stern was elected Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem on 22 October 2014. The position had been vacant for eleven years, following the passing of the former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Yitzhak Kolitzm in 2003.[4]

Rabbi Stern was elected by a majority vote of 27 of the 48 representatives from the city's synagogues, city councils, and voters appointed by Naftali Bennett.[5] He had been elected the candidate of the Religious Zionism sector in 2009.[6] He faced a series of obstacles by political opponents, including motions in the Supreme Court to disqualify him from running due to an expired rabbinical certificate, and an attempt to postpone the elections until after his seventieth birth day when he would become ineligible to submit his candidacy.

Rabbi Stern's election was backed by Ministry of Religious Services minister, Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Yehudi party, and by Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat. Alongside Rabbi Stern, Rabbi Shlomo Amar was elected as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the city. Among the supporters of Rabbi Stern were rabbis Haim Drukman and Aharon Lichtenstein, two prominent leaders of the modern-orthodox in Israel, the Rebbe of Erlau, a member of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah, and Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. The rabbis of Tzohar also supported Rabbi Stern.

Upon his election, Rabbi Stern said, "It is in my intention to serve as the rabbi of all Jerusalemites: secular, modern-orthodox and charedi alike. The Jerusalem rabbinate is a great merit, but it also comprises a hefty responsibility. I will make sure that the religious services will become accessible and friendly and will serve as an outstanding model for all of the other rabbinates in Israel".[7]

On 28 December 2014, Rabbi Stern was appointed by President Reuven Rivlin as a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel.[8]


Rabbi Stern at his desk
  • Rabbi Stern pledged that as the rabbi of Jerusalem he would organize kiddushim for religious and secular people, held once a month in synagogues around Jerusalem after the prayers.[9]
  • He opposes cultural-religious segregation of sectors where each sector lives in their own neighborhood, and supports the establishment of mixed neighbourhoods of both religious and non-religious.[10]
  • He has said that he is interested in returning the kashrut level in Jerusalem to its status fifty years ago, when it was perceived as very mehudar (referring to mehadrin: the highest standard of kashrut).[11] He has been proactive in checking kashrut and addressing corruption in the Jerusalem Religious Council to improve supervision.[12]
  • With regard to the place of women in prayers, he said: "In the world I knew from the times of my mother and my grandmother, there was no such demand, and it was also apparent in the posekim of the time. Our grandmothers did not want it. Today, however, the situation is different, and one cannot claim old arguments exercised in past generations... it is clear that one needs to renew things, basing it on the Halakha, of course". That is why he supported expanding the Women's Gallery at the Western Wall to the same size of the men's section,[13] and also allowed placing a Sefer Torah in the women's gallery at the times of hakafot (encirclements at the synagogue) on Simchat Torah.[14]
  • Regarding acceptance of religious homosexual couples, he said he would accept them at his synagogue, in the same way he accepts Shabbat violators, though he would not appoint them as congregational cantors.[15] He opposes the Pride parade in Jerusalem.[16]
  • He has called to abolish the Talmud and Torah matriculation exams.[17]


  1. ^ "Rav Aryeh Stern And Rav Shlomo Amar Elected As Chief Rabbis Of Jerusalem". The Yeshiva World News. October 21, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
  2. ^ Lipman, Steve (July 7, 2015). "Finding Common Ground In A City Of Differences". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  3. ^ Feuerstein, Rafi (November 23, 2014). "Rabbi Aryeh Stern – a model of humility". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  4. ^ Sharon, Jeremy (August 31, 2014). "After 11 years, date set for election of chief rabbis of Jerusalem". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  5. ^ Ettinger, Yair (October 21, 2014). "After eleven year hiatus, Jerusalem has chief rabbis again". Haaretz. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  6. ^ ברוך, עוזי (27 August 2009). המועמד הציוני הנבחר: הרב אריה שטרן (in Hebrew). Israel National News. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Amar, Stern voted as Jerusalem chief rabbis". Times of Israel. October 21, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
  8. ^ "Rivlin Signs Appointment of Jerusalem Chief Rabbi to Rabbinical Council". Arutz Sheva. December 28, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
  9. ^ הורוביץ, אריאל (October 25, 2014). "הפיתרון הוא רבנות חיובית". מוסף ״שבת״.
  10. ^ שניאו, אסף. "ירושלים, עיר שחוברה לה יחדיו! ראיון עם הרב אריה שטרן". נאמני תורה ועבודה (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2015-07-13.
  11. ^ שיף, אבי (October 23, 2014). ""הרב שטרן בראיון ראשון: "נפגשתי בסתר עם רבנים". בחדרי חרדים (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2015-07-13.
  12. ^ "Jerusalem Kashrus Officials Not Cooperating with City's Chief Rabbi". Yeshiva World News. Jerusalem. July 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  13. ^ אדמקר, יקי (October 21, 2014). "מצעד הגאווה והר הבית: שאלנו והרבנים ענו" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  14. ^ הורוביץ, אריאל (October 25, 2014). "הפיתרון הוא רבנות חיובית". Musaf Shabbat. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  15. ^ הורוביץ, אריאל (October 25, 2014). "הפיתרון הוא רבנות חיובית". מוסף ״שבת״.
  16. ^ "Basheva Stern". השבע (in Hebrew). September 3, 2009. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  17. ^ פולק, אורי (June 23, 2011). "הרב שטרן: להוציא את התורה מבחינות הבגרות". כיפה. Retrieved 2015-07-28.

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