Summary

Formulate Halachic positions, options, and views on a variety of pressing matters related to the public arena.

Members

Rabbi Asher Bush (Chairman)
Rabbi Yosef Adler (Member)
Rabbi Kenneth Auman (Member)
Rabbi Daniel Feldman (Member)
Rabbi Tzvi Flaum (Member)
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb (Member)
Rabbi Howard Jachter (Member)
Rabbi Yaacov Lerner (Member)
Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky (Member)

Description / History / Activity Updates

For a number of years, the Vaad Halachah had been dormant. Starting under the presidency of Rabbi Kenneth Auman, and progressing under Rabbi Dale Polakoff, the Va’ad has taken a new form and gained new life.

The purpose of the Vaad is threefold. First, to address Shailot that are asked by the RCA itself. These would typically be matters of organizational policies that involve issues in Halachah.

Second, to address Shailot asked by the OU (not relating to Kashrut) in the RCA’s capacity as the Halachic authority of the OU. In this regard, RCA officers and members of the Vaad have met with OU leadership at their behest, and we are presently addressing a serious matter of concern to the OU.

Third, to address the Bayot HaZman. Last summer, the Vaad Halachah issued a ruling and paper on the prohibition of smoking. For most of this past year the Vaad Halachah has been reviewing and evaluating many of the issues related to organ transplantation. This has included consultations with many of the leading Rabbinic and medical authorities both in American and in Israel. It is hoped that a ruling and supporting documents will be issued shortly. Hopefully this can be followed by a guide to many of the end of life questions that Rabbonim and laymen face regularly.

We have recently been approached to address several issues of community concern. The first one is the issue of Mesirah, especially as it relates to cases of abuse. The second is the idea of creating a guide to help develop uniform standards for community Eruvin. If Chaverim have issues they would like to see addressed, please speak with the chairman of the Vaad Halachah.

The working of the Vaad is somewhat different than in past years. The Vaad Halachah itself consists of RCA Chaverim (listed above) who regularly deal with the world of Psak Halachah in their roles as Rabbonim and m’Chanchim.

Additionally, we have a Vaad HaPoskim consisting of senior Roshei Yeshiva and Poskim who have agreed to serve as resources for the Vaad Halachah. They are Rav J. David Bleich, Rav Dovid Cohen, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, Rav Michael Rosensweig, Rav Gedalia Schwartz, Rav Hershel Schachter and Rav Mordechai Willig. Additionally, Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg will be consulted as well.

Depending on the issue, the exact roles of the Vaad Halachah and the Vaad HaPposkim and their interplay will (and already have) vary, but the ultimate responsibility for each decision will lie with the Vaad Halachah itself.