In Part I here, I explained: I've been recruited to speak in a panel discussion this coming Shabbos, on Rabbinic Jurisdiction in Israel. Since I'm the North American on the panel (beside Rav Dovid Stav and Rabbanit Pnina Neuwirth), my responsibility is to talk about how North American, "Modern Orthodox" Jews feel about Israel's Chief Rabbinate.
In that first part, I talked about why North American Modern Orthodoxy loves the Chief Rabbinate – because of our love for its history, because of our hopefor a Judaism-guided administration in the State, and because of our desire for structure in our religious organizations.
At the same time, we are disappointed. Beyond the specific controversies, I see four reasons for our disappointment:
A real-world Chief Rabbinate, just like the rabbi in your shul, must choose between reasonable views and alienate those who adopt the opposing view. Sometimes the motivations are intellectual, sometimes subjective, sometimes political. And whereas one who is in a shul can argue with the rabbi, or daven at a different minyan, or leave the shul, we can't switch Israels.
2. Life in Galut
Modern Orthodox Jews living outside of Israel want to be ambassadors for Israel – and so headlines about conversion difficulties, or the troubles of the non-observant in navigating the Chief Rabbinate's bureaucracy, or acceptance of shackle-and-hoist schechitah, frustrate us. Further, for many Jews there is a concern for מה יאמרו הגויים, "What will the neighbors say".
Modern Orthodoxy is very good about accepting those who are different – but when others come to discredit them in the name of Torah, whether from the Right or from the Left, they become quite hostile. This applies to the conversion crisis, but also to the discomfort some have over a lack of a Modern Orthodox presence in the Rabbinate and among its appointness.
4. Imposed authority
Although North American Modern Orthodoxy appreciates structure, they are heirs to the North American political tradtion and the concept of democracy over republic, the power of the individual over the presumed rightness of government. Witness, for example, the furor last year regarding the authority of Young Israel over its branches.
The result of this disappointment is alienation, and the opposite of the love that would otherwise thrive. Issues of Jewish identity, of beit din bureaucracy, of kashrut and heter mechirah and shechitah, become flashpoints. There is a definite need for a solution here.