The Shmooze

14-Year-Old Rabbinical Prodigy Denied Ordination

By Josh Tapper

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Just a year removed from his bar mitzvah, Netanya teenager Moshe Raziel Sharify is ready to become a rabbi. Thing is, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate won’t let him.

At 14, Sharify has been hailed as a rabbinical prodigy, garnering the approval of at least 10 “well-respected” rabbis, including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

Sharify, who studies at a Tel Aviv yeshiva, will be profiled at length in Friday’s Jerusalem Post magazine.

The controversy doesn’t surround Sharify’s capabilities. In addition to passing a series of independently administered rabbinical examinations, he passed the Rabbinate’s formal ordination test in Jerusalem and, the article reports, is “convinced he aced it.” He noted his date of birth on the test application.

Years ago, the Rabbinate unofficially declared a prospective rabbi must be 22 to take the ordination test. The Rabbinate holds that Sharify shouldn’t have taken the test in the first place, even though it processed his application.

Sharify’s father is threatening to take his son’s case to court.


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