Israel · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · news · rabbi

Making it harder for converts, one regulation at a time.

If you’re dating a prospective convert in Israel, then you better be able to to prove your Jewishness. A new regulation put into place by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel creates more bureaucratic difficulties for converts according to Rabbi Seth Farber of ITIM.

While this is a new regulation, this is nothing new in the treatment of converts. Frequently Jewish men, even observant men, have their Jewishness questioned when they are in serious relationships with non-Jews in the conversion process. The common question asked, “If they’re really Jewish, what are they doing with a non-Jew?”

According to The Jerusalem Post article, “Chief Rabbinate: New regulation doesn’t complicate conversion”, “The fundamental assumption of the regulation is that the Jewishness of anyone involved in a serious relationship with a non-Jew who wants to convert is questionable,” said Farber.

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7 thoughts on “Making it harder for converts, one regulation at a time.

  1. I have decided that Israel doesn't want me, or any convert not to “their” liking. As such, they wil not get any support from me. It's supposed to be a Jewish State, but for which Jew? Supposed to be a Democracy, but is leaning more toward a Theocracy led by Charidim who if you aren't just like them, than you are scum. No, I am not like them, I am like Jews before me who have studied, done the mitzvot and go to shul. Maybe not THEIR idea of one, but a shul nonetheless.

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  2. It isn't supposed to be easy to convert. Here in Israel we are faced with thousands of Russian immigrants who seek to become Jews not for spiritual aims but to recieve various benefits only available to Jews. Sadly, the Rabbinate is forced to be a gatekeeper,but if the Rabbinate isn't strict we will have complete chaos as these unscrupulous pseudo Jews marry real Jews and destroy their lineage. I'm sorry if this sounds racist, perhaps, by Western standards it is but the Torah doesn't seem these things with the same perspective as a liberal American Civil Libertarean no matter how well meaning The Torah is harsh at times, stoning for the man who gathered wood on the Shabbath, the exploding Sotah woman, but if you are an Orthodox Jew, you accept it as G-ds word and, as hard to swallow as it might be for those of us who have internalized another value system it is the Truth and that is what gives our heritage its power, and has given our anscestors the strength to go through fire and water for this Torah, that it is the truth. That is the bottom line for any orthodox Jew, and I wonder if Rabbi Faber, for all of his good intentions hasn't unwittingly placed himself outside of the camp.

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  3. Anonymous says that “it isn´t supposed to be easy to convert” and some half-truths about the Russians in Israel. I think there are some quite different views on the Talmud on how one should treat converts and how easy or how difficult the conversion process should be. It is a very recent development to make things harder and have only the most stringent views. Hey, no one in his or her right mind would convert to Judaism only to get privileges – we are not living in the days of Mashiach may he come speedily and in our days ! As to the Russians in Israel, many of them serve in the army and are part of society. If they do not convert, they WILL marry halachical Jews, do not have any doubts about that, and the problem continues and becomes bigger. If they do convert, even if they do not live fully observant lives (which was NEVER a requirement for conversion), they and their children will have the chance to become observant. Why don´t some people see this simple truth ?

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  4. “It isn't supposed to be easy to convert.”

    I hear this all the time from Jews who wish to gloss over the injustices done to converts and potential converts. The last time I checked, “It isn't supposed to be easy to convert” is not in the Torah; yet “to love the ger” is. The truth of the matter is that the Rav of the convert is suppossed to “push” away the potential convert. But this “pushing” could just be a simple disclosure of how hard it is to be a Jew and that they are perfectly fine the way they are (a gentile). On top of that, no one else but the Rav needs to do this. Rabbis who deal with converts should know how to push away with one arm, and draw near with the other.

    In regards to the article, I had to laugh outloud. I personally think it is an act of incredible chesed for a born Jew love a convert. The born Jew moves on from being “ordinary” to sharing part of the[unnecessary] burden of having a ger in the family. Such Jews have a special place in Shamayim, for sure.

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