The Edah HaChareidis (lit. "Haredi Community"), also known as the Edah for short and popularly as the Badatz, is a prominent Orthodox Jewish communal organization based in Jerusalem, Israel. It represents a large section of the Ashkenazi Haredi community and provides facilities such as kashrus supervision, mikvas, an eruv and a rabbinical court. The Edah HaChareidis is viewed as 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 HaChareidit HaSefaradit" representing part of Sephardi Haredi 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.
The Edah was founded by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1848–1932) and Rabbi Yitzchok Yerucham Diskin (son of Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818–1898), 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 death 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 death. Meanwhile, in 1945, the Edah parted ways with Agudat Yisrael. The lay leader of the Edah HaChareidis for many years was Gershon Stemmer, until his death in early 2007.
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, and by 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 in Israel) 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."
|ה' הוא מלכנו, by Rav Amram Blau||English translation
ה' הוא מלכנו ולו אנו עבדים
ה' הוא מלכנו ולו אנו עבדים
בשלטון הכופרים אין אנו מאמינים
ובחוקותיהם אין אנו מתחשבים
בדרך התורה נלך באש ובמים
Hashem is our King and to Him we are servants,
To the rule of the heretics we are not believers,
And their laws we do not honor,
In the way of the Torah we walk,
Followers of the movements that constitute the Edah mainly live in the northern areas of Jerusalem (from Har Nof to Sanhedria, and in Meah Shearim) and Beit Shemesh. 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.
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 (literally "Court [of] Righteous Law"), the standard term for a rabbinical appeals court. Products certified by the Edah are marked with the well-known logo of the Edah.
Many of the groups in Edah HaChareisidas maintain the classical customs of Jerusalem — the Yerushalmi minhagim — such as the gold kaftan worn on Shabbos. Nowadays, the groups include: Satmar, Dushinsky, Toldos Aharon, Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok, Spinka, Brisk, Sanz-Tshokave, groups beloning to the Perushim (such as a more "moderate" wing of Neturei Karta), a faction of Breslover hasidim led by Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter and Mishkenos HoRoim.
Historically, the court is headed by both a Chief Rabbi called the "Gaavad" גאב"ד, and by the Head of Rabbinical Court called a "Raavad" ראב"ד. The "Raavad" is the first person in the line of succession of the "Gaavad", and would usually ascend to the role of "Gaavad" upon his death or resignation.
The following lists prominent members of the Edah's rabbinical court:
- 1919–1932: Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849–1932)
- 1932–1948: Grand Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, First Dushinsky Rebbe (1867–1948)
- 1947–1953: Rabbi Zelig Reuven Bengis (1864–1953)
- 1953–1979: Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1887–1979)
- 1979–1989: Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss (1901–1989; author of Minchas Yitzchak, formerly of Manchester Beth Din, England)
- 1989–1996: Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Freund (1904–1996; author of Ateres Yehoshua (Chassidei Satmar)
- 1996–2002: Grand Rabbi Yisroel Moshe Dushinsky, Second Dushinsky Rebbe (1921–2003; son of Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, listed above)
- 2002 to present: Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss (formerly dayan of Machsike Hadass community, Antwerp, Belgium)
- Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1887–1979)
- 1979–2006: Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Satmar (1914–2006)
- 2006–present: Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshiva of Brisk, current President of the Edah Charedis
- Rabbi Pinchas Epstein
- Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Fisher (1928–2003), author of Even Yisroel
- Rabbi Moshe Halberstam (1932–2006)
- Rabbi Chanoch Dov Padwa
- Rabbi Binyomin Rabinowitz
- Rabbi Meir Brandsdorfer (Chasidei Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok)
- Rabbi Yaakov Blau
- Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, Chief Rabbi גאב"ד
- Rabbi Moishe Sternbuch, Head of Rabbinical Court ראב"ד
- Rabbi Naftoli Hertzke Frankel
- Rabbi Yehoshua Rosenberger (Chasidei Satmar)
- Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman (Chasidei Dushinsky)
- Rabbi Yaakov Mendel Yuravitch
- Rabbi Chaim Uri Freund
- "Rabbi Yosef Sheinberger dies at 87". The Jerusalem Post.
In 1981 he issued a decree that all educational institutions that accept state funding were off limits for children of the Edah Haredit.
- Pour une fois, une conversion ultra-orthodoxe n'est pas reconnue dans le cadre d'une demande de naturalisation
- Introduction, Sefer Yalkut Amorim Vayoel Moshe.
-  "UTJ [United Torah Judaism]: Anti-voting campaign hurt us" Jerusalem Post, March 30, 2006; see  for some pictures
- HaEdah, parashas Pekudei 5768, page 10-11
- Peres lauds Rabbinate for recognizing brain death, Ynet, (October 06, 2009)
- Statements against Zionism by the Edah Chareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss of the Eidah Chareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Yisrael Yaakov Fisher of the Eidah HaChareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Yisrael Yaakov Fisher, with much information about the history of the Eidah Chareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Moshe Halberstam of the Eidah Chareidis