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What should I do if the only Orthodox shul in my city says the prayer for the State of Israel?

Jan. 1, 2013

I live in a city where there is only one Orthodox shul. Unfortunatelly, the rabbis of the shul are Zionists and during a Shabbes Shachris they read the prayer for so called Jewish State. What – according to Halacha – should I do in the situation: pray alone at home every Shabbes, be inside the shul, leave the shul for this prayer? I will be thankful for your answer.
Yitzchak B.

Dear Yitzchak,

I've consulted with one of our rabbinic advisors, Rabbi Efraim Hersh Smilowitz, about your question, and this is what he said:

As long as they continue to say this prayer every Shabbos, you should not pray in the shul, even on a weekday. The reason is that by davening in the building, you are affirming that their shul represents a valid form of Judaism. It would be better to daven alone than to daven in such a shul.

He said that this is what the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum zt"l, used to tell his talmidim when they visited a place where all the shuls were Zionist.

If it's a small community, perhaps they will notice your absence and ask you about it, and when the rabbis realize that their Zionism is turning people off, maybe they will change. Or perhaps nine other people will agree with you and you'll make a separate minyan. Let's hope things change for the better.