New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Ordained pulpit rabbi – Political and non-political advocacy
Background: A court attorney-referee who is also an ordained pulpit rabbi asks if he may teach, preach, and write on several potentially controversial Israel-related matters. The referee also asked if he may attend events sponsored by certain non-profit entities dedicated to issues concerning Israel and/or become a member of such entities.
Opinion: The Committee concluded that a court attorney-referee who is ordained rabbi may teach, preach, and write on Israel-related issues concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice, but not on non-legal matters of substantial public and political controversy, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Further, a court attorney-referee may join and participate in non-political events sponsored by the non-profit entities which do not have substantial non-political purposes, but may neither join nor attend events sponsored by those with a political purpose.