Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is working very hard to ensure that Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews are all given equal treatment: Until recently, Conservative and Reform Jews had felt very alienated by the Israel Chief Rabbinate, but Orthodox Jews did not.
Recognizing the inherent unfairness in this, for the last few years, the Rabbinate has been taking dramatic steps to ensure that Orthodox Jews also feel just as alienated.
Jewish Week: Jerusalem — About 20 years ago, an infant girl (“Nina,” a pseudonym) from an Orthodox family underwent a conversion in New York that, by Orthodox American standards, was and still is beyond reproach.
The three converting rabbis, whose names The Jewish Week has withheld so as not to harm their reputations, are highly respected figures in the mainstream Orthodox Jewish world, according to Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).
But that hasn’t stopped Israel’s Chief Rabbinate or Israel’s Ministry of Interior from questioning the conversion, evidently because it took place in a synagogue-based beit din (rabbinical court) that did not meet on a regular basis, and not in an external beit din dedicated solely to conversions, The Jewish Week has learned.
Read more of the world class treatment the Israel Chief Rabbinate in thisarticle by the Jewish Week.
None of this should be surprising especially in light of the blistering attacks from Shas on the “Jewish Home” (Religious Zionist party) before the elections by R’ Ovadya Yosef:
“They call them the ‘Jewish Home’ but this is not a home for Jews; it is a home of goyim [gentiles],” Yosef said. “They want to uproot the Torah, to institute civil marriage. It’s forbidden to vote for them. These are religious people? Anyone who votes for them denies the Torah.”
“They are all wicked, haters of Torah and mitzvot. They want to institute public transportation on Shabbat,” Yosef charged. “A Jew who wants to marry won’t have to go to the rabbinate — have you heard? How can they call themselves religious? How can we be complicit in this?” (Times of Israel)
Shas is so proud of these statements, that the official Shas party channel on youtube publicized the video (sorry it’s only in Hebrew).
And then, in case some misguided soul thinks this was only pre-election nonsense, the Shas party newspaper “Yom L’Yom” attacked the Jewish Home party:
Translation: The man with the kipa the size of an eye personifies how his kipa is the size of a “half shekel coin.” The agreement he is working hard on creating with the chairman of the new-old hatred party [Yesh Atid party] shows that “something new is happening here [ “something new is happening” was the campaign slogan of the Jewish Home party]. Something Reform. Something “Goyish.” “Remember what Amalek did to you” which tried to weaken the Torah — this is an eternal concept. Also in Israel. G-d forbid, a new “Jewish Home” is being created. Those who wish to weaken the Torah aren’t part of a “Jewish Home” — it is a house of “Goyim.”
The Torah and Judaism survived for thousands of years before the Shas party, and will continue to survive and flourish even if the Shas party is not a member of the government. In fact, based on the situation above, Torah will probably flourish more with Shas out of the government, and hopefully the Chief Rabbinate will revert back to a Rabbinate for all of Israel, with tolerance and justice for all.
And until R’ Ovadya Yosef publicly apologizes for lambasting the “Jewish Home,” the “Jewish Home” party should ignore Shas completely.
Editor’s Note: Shas co-chairman Eli Yishai called Jewish Home MK Uri Ariel to apologize about the attack in the publication, but Yosef has made no apology for his remarks.
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