web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Brave New Nation: 30 New Rabbinical Courts to Process Conversions

Stern's pending bill already appears to enjoy the initial, albeit tacit, support of Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home.
Mk Elazar Stern, who is an observant Jew, may have succeeded in doing something to loosen the stranglehold that Israel's Chief Rabbinate has had on conversions, not only in Israel, but in America as well.

Mk Elazar Stern, who is an observant Jew, may have succeeded in doing something to loosen the stranglehold that Israel's Chief Rabbinate has had on conversions, not only in Israel, but in America as well.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

If you’re a student of American history, you may recall a time early in the FDR presidency, when the largely Republican appointed Supreme Court would knock down much of the Democratic president’s new legislation on constitutional grounds. Eventually, FDR announced that he would double the number of justices, appointing a kind of associate justice to every sitting member of the high court, thus completely diluting their power. The threat worked and the court became much more reasonable in dealing with the newcomer’s legislative agenda – ushering in the New Deal.

Mk Elazar Stern of the Tzipi Livni movement, who is an observant Jew, may have succeeded in doing something similar to the stranglehold that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has had on conversions, not only in Israel, but in America as well. as you may know, the Rabbinical Council of America has had the resilience of a wet shopping bag in standing up to Israel’s Rabbinate in deciding which American rabbis are approved to conduct conversions and which aren’t.

But as MK Stern has told Israel radio tonight, his new conversion bill will enable the creation of some 30 new 3-judge conversion courts throughout Israel, adding about 90 new rabbinical judges to the existing conversion system. That’s a feat that even old FDR would have admired.

According to Stern’s pending bill, which already appears to enjoy the initial, albeit tacit, support of Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home, “a city’s rabbi is permitted to establish a conversion court within his municipal authority, as needed. The confirmation by the city rabbi that a person has been accepted into the Jewish ethnic group and has had a religious conversion will constitute an official certification with no need for any additional confirmation.”

In the current coalition government, Jewish Home has a veto power over state and religion legislation. Some in the party support the Stern Bill, some are not sure. The faction has asked Stern for two weeks, during which they’ll deliberate the issue with the two chief rabbis who are livid, apparently. They really don’t like the Stern bill. They’re Haredim, they were elected against the wishes of Jewish Home leader and Minister of Religious services Bennett, so of course they hate it. But some of the Zionist Haredim, such as Rabbi Yaakov Ariel and Rabbi Dov Lior, also oppose the bill.

Rabbi Ariel told the website Srugim that he is against the bill because he likes things the way they are today, when there’s only one source of approval or disapproval for conversions in Israel. He fears a situation whereby some courts will get a reputation for being too easy on candidates for conversion, and then he and his colleagues would be forced to research every single conversion that comes before them for, say, the purpose of marrying another Jewish person.

Yes, having just one court is so much easier on rabbis.

At this point it looks like Jewish Home will not use its veto power to kill the Stern legislation, but they might ask for a few improvements. Control of the standards of conversion seems to be a major issue for the Haredim. Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Jewish Home, made an effort to calm everyone involved, promising to work together with the President of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, an expert on conversions, on a version of the bill that the two chief rabbis would approve.

The chief rabbis are no fools, they understand that MK Stern represents a very large majority of Israelis who wish to see the monopoly over everything Jewish wrested from the hands of the chief Rabbinate. This is why Chief Sephardi Rabbi, Rav Yitzhak Yosef (same name, different rabbi) has already expressed his trust in Ben Dahan’s ability to reach the kind of language for the new law that would “maintain the unity and wholeness of the people of Israel.”

That’s code for giving the chief rabbinate back some control over the conversion process.

The Reform Movement, nebech, has expressed its reserved support for the new bill. They approve, of course, of anything that would give the chief rabbinate a bloody nose. On the other hand, none of the proceedings mentioned above comes even close to recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions inside Israel. So they hate it.

Which means the new bill can’t be all bad.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Brave New Nation: 30 New Rabbinical Courts to Process Conversions”

  1. The only item that seems to be lacking is the insistence that the conversion judges are Jews who consistently observe Shabbat. It will be wonderful to get back to Shulkhan Arukh rulings by which a convert need not be conversant with the latest stringency.

  2. What FDR was able to achieve is bringing socialism to the us, using a prolonged recession as a tool. Keeping working Americans under duress his socialist agenda was able to be instituted, except got the SCOTUS rulings. So what did he do? Load the appellate courts with socialist judges. Because he was allowed to appoint them we now have an Obama as dictator… We have become accustomed to their agendas and many benefit and vote them into office

  3. I agree. Why is it that FDR set up in New Mexico German pow camps and these Germans were well taken care of. Look it up. Then FDR flew them home and some returned because they liked new mexico. While these German soldiers were playing soccer and being well fed; our Jewish brothers and sisters were dying.

  4. I was offered a position as Menhael of a Chief Rabbinate conversion Ulpan many years ago. Prior to accapting the appointment, I interviewed prospective candidates to enroll in the Giyur Uplpan. They were absolutely non qualifying. I interviewewd the Head Teacher of this Ulpan, he informed 'not one candidate meets the halachic requirements,' nevertheless the Chief Rabbinate accepted them. The then Deputy director of the Ministry of Religon admitted that candidates are invalid,yet accepted them! Obviously I turned down the position. Elazar Stern has an history of being anti-Halachic! When a religious solider received an award of heroism, refused to shake hands/salute of the Chief of staff that was resposible for the eviction of Gush Katif, that solider was summoned to General Elazar Stern! Stern barked," You and your stinking Rosh HaYeshvahs"! Stern is not Orthodox! Last week stern vulgurally attacked the Chief Rabbi/Rosh HaYeshiva Rav Dov Lior of Hebron/Kiryat Arbah calling him a racist! among other pejoratives from the Knesset podium. He is a member of HaTunah of Tzipi Livni who has a sorded record of being anti-religious and anti-Zionist. http://www.vaadharabbonim.com

  5. If you really want to be a Jew then you are a Jew That's what my father said'

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Convicted murderer of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, Mumia Ab-Jamal.
Convicted Cop-Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is College Commencement Speaker
Latest News Stories
Convicted murderer of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, Mumia Ab-Jamal.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted murderer of a Philly cop, was chosen as college commencement speaker.

Israeli transportation and tourism employees will carry out a work slowdown on Wednesday in solidarity with striking postal workers.

In Lebanon, smoke rises from a Sunni Muslim dominated neighborhood in Tripoli on August 21, 2014.

Wartime makes the strangest bedfellows. Iran and the United States are both equipping the Lebanese army to protect the country against ISIS.

Israeli companies are searching for energy resources anywhere and everywhere in the country in order to lower prices at the pump and in the home, but pulling the black gold from the earth sometimes comes with an environmental price tag.

Afek Oil and Gas has been blocked from drilling for oil on the Golan Heights, at least for now.

A 30-year-old man is listed in serious condition after setting himself afire at the Savion Junction in central Israel on Tuesday.

A Muslim football player was penalized in Kansas City for offering a quick prayerful gesture of thanks after scoring a touchdown for his team.

The Zim Shanghai moored a short while ago at the Port of Los Angeles.

The blatantly hostile state department press corps belittled and mischaracterized Netanyahu’s UN speech.

Children help clean up Ashkelon in an event organized by the Jewish National Fund, as part of Clean up the World Day, on Sept. 29, 2014.

Jews are becoming as safe in France as they are in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

Children were rushed to bomb shelters in the Jerusalem neighborhood when Arabs began throwing explosives at the neighborhood and at Jewish toddlers playing near their nursery schools.

Volkswagen tries to cleanse its Nazi-linked past.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed for a much deserved lunch in Midtown Manhattan with Sheldon Adelson, at Fresco by Scotto, accompanied by 30 security guards. Bibi had the veal chop.

Rabbi David Kushner’s Ford Explorer was torched next to the Rodef Sholom Synagogue in Atlantic City on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

How can Netanyahu say that Iran, which hangs innocents, is like ISIS, which beheads them?

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brave-new-nation-30-new-rabbinical-courts-to-process-conversions/2013/11/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: