The Edah HaChareidis (Hebrew: העדה החרדית HaEdah HaChareidis The Chareidi Community), also written Edah Haredit, is a prominent Haredi communal organization in present-day Jerusalem, consisting of several Haredi groups. It provides all the facilities required by a Jewish community, including kashrus, mikvas, an eruv and rabbinical decisors. It is well known for being strongly opposed to Zionism, which it condemns as heretical and opposed to Judaism.
The rabbinate of the Edah is popularly known as "the Badatz."
It is unaffiliated with a similarly-named, though not as well-known, Sephardi Edah HaCharedit.
- 1 History
- 2 Sphere of influence
- 3 Kashrut supervision
- 4 The chareidi groups which comprise the Edah
- 5 Prominent members of the rabbinical court of the Edah HaChareidis
- 6 External references
- 7 External links
The Edah was founded by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld and Rabbi Yitzchok Yerucham Diskin (son of Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, Rabbi of Brisk, Lithuania) in 1919, prior to the establishment of the Chief Rabbinate by the Zionist movement under British auspices. Rabbi Sonnenfeld was named the first Av Beis Din of the Edah Chareidis, a position he held until his passing in 1932. His tenure saw the Ottoman Empire's control over the Land of Israel weakening, and the British gaining control of the British Mandate of Palestine after World War I. The British chose to create a new Zionist rabbinical hierarchy under the newly-created Chief Rabbinate of Palestine, which later became the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook became the first Chief Rabbi in 1921. The Edah HaChareidis, which was - and still is - strongly anti-Zionist, resisted these moves and opposed the new British-created Zionist Chief Rabbinate.
Rabbi Sonnenfeld was succeeded by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky. He was succeeded by Rabbi Zelig Reuven Bengis, who was succeeded by the Satmar Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum. Rabbi Teitelbaum emigrated to the United States, but retained his position as Av Beis Din of the Edah HaChareidis. Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum's nephew, the late Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Satmar, was given the title of President, upon Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum's passing. Meanwhile, in 1945, Agudath Israel, formerly aligned with the Edah, broke away from it.
The lay leader of the Edah HaChareidis for many years was Gershon Stemmer, until his death in early 2007.
The anti-Zionist stance of the Edah is supported by the book Vayoel Moshe, written by former Edah President and Chief Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, which is regarded as the standard using which all issues relating to the modern State of Israel are determined. For example, the Edah forbids voting in the elections for the Knesset, and forbids accepting accept any funding from the Israeli government (such as subsidies for schools and unemployment benefits), nor to accept Israeli citizenship through the Law of Return. According to Ynetnews, "It [the Edah} has declared an ideological war against the "heretic Zionist government".
Despite the anti-Zionist stance of the Edah HaChareidis, a fragile cooperation is maintained with the state-run Chief Rabbinate, for example for the purpose of registering marriages and divorces (although, this aspect does predate the state of Israel). On the other hand, converts to Judaism who convert through the Edah HaChareidis (like converts through all non-government organizations), are not recognized as Jews by the state for the purpose of obtaining Israeli citizenship via the Law of Return. 
In 2002, the rabbinical leadership of the Edah wrote a complimentary introduction to Vayoel Moshe. The introduction mentioned: "and it is necessary to learn about this subject [of Zionism]... the holy book Vayoel Moshe will open [its readers] eyes to see [the reasons behind] all troubles and horrors of our time, and will prevent readers from being drawn after the Zionist heresy, may the Merciful One save us."
Sphere of influence
Followers of the movements which constitute the Edah mainly live in the northern areas of Jerusalem (from Har Nof to Sanhedria) and Beit Shemesh. In practice, through its kashrus authority and halachic decisions made by its leaders, its influence is felt throughout Israel and in much of the Diaspora.
The Edah HaChareidis is known for its high standards in rabbinical supervision of kosher food, and is considered to be one of the strictest hechsheirim in Israel. It is often simply known as the hechsher of the "Badatz", which stands for Beis Din Tzedek or "Court [of] Righteous Law". Products certified by the Edah are marked with the well-known logo of the Edah, shown above.
The chareidi groups which comprise the Edah
- Satmarer chasidim
- Dushinsky chasidim
- Toldos Aharon chasidim
- Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok chasidim
- Spinker chasidim
- Brisk community of Jerusalem
- Sanz-Tshokave chasidim
- Perushim (faction of Lithuanian and Hungarian non-Hasidic Haredim, including descendants of the students of the Vilna Gaon)
- Faction of Breslover chassidim (led by Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter)
- Mishkenos HoRoim chasidim
Prominent members of the rabbinical court of the Edah HaChareidis
Chief Rabbis (גאב"ד) of the Edah HaCharedis
- 1919-1932: Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849-1932)
- 1932-1948: Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky (1st) of Dushinsky (1865-1949)
- 1947-1953: Rabbi Zelig Reuven Bengis (1864-1953)
- 1953-1979: Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1887-1979)
- 1979-1989: Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss (1901-1989; author of Minchas Yitzchak, formerly of Manchester Beth Din, England)
- 1989-1996: Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Freund (1904-1996; author of Ateres Yehoshua (Chassidei Satmar)
- 1996-2002: Grand Rabbi Yisroel Moshe Dushinsky (1921-2003; son of Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, listed above)
- 2002 to present: Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss (formerly dayan of Machsike Hadass community, Antwerp, Belgium)
Presidents (נשיא) of the Edah HaCharedis
- Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1887-1979)
- 1979-2006: Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Satmar (1914-2006)
- 2006-present: Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshiva of Brisk, current President of the Edah Charedis
- Rabbi Pinchas Epstein
- Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Fisher (1928-2003), author of Even Yisroel
- Rabbi Moshe Halberstam (1932-2006)
- Rabbi Chanoch Dov Padwa
- Rabbi Binyomin Rabinowitz
- Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik, President נשיא (Brisk)
- Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, Chief Rabbi גאב"ד
- Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, Head of Rabbinical Court ראב"ד
- Rabbi Meir Brandsdorfer (Chasidei Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok)
- Rabbi Naftoli Hertzke Frankel
- Rabbi Yeshayah Rosenberger (Chasidei Satmar)
- Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman (Chasidei Dushinsky)
- Rabbi Yaakov Mendel Yuravitch
- Rabbi Yaakov Blau
Prominent rabbis affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis
- Statements against Zionism by the Edah Chareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss of the Eidah Chareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Yisrael Yaakov Fisher of the Eidah HaChareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Yisrael Yaakov Fisher, with much information about the history of the Eidah Chareidis
- Obituary for Rabbi Moshe Halberstam of the Eidah Chareidis