Rabbi David Stav is, possibly, the most popular Orthodox rabbi among unobservant Israelis. He has founded and is leading Tzohar, an organization whose main goal is to make Orthodox weddings and other lifecycle events pleasant and uncomplicated for Israelis who would otherwise opt for a secular option. And so, the fact that even this most moderate and open minded scholar could not bring himself to recognize any Jewish validity in the Reform movement (nebech) says a lot.

In a public debate at the Knesset Israel-U.S. lobby on Tuesday, chaired by Labor MK Nachman Shai, Rabbi Stav had this to say about the Reform movement’s demand that their conversions be recognized by the Jewish State:


“The problem of assimilation among American Jews is not only an American problem, it’s our problem, too. There’s an ocean of ceremonies and an ocean of people eager to conduct ceremonies. Chelsea Clinton married a Jewish guy. I’m not arguing the legitimacy of it, you’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew? You want me to recognize the rabbi who officiated at her wedding as a rabbi? Are you trying to push intermarriage through my back door?”

Rabbi Stav spoke after the visiting head of the Reform movement, Reform Rabbi (nebech) Rick Jacobs told the Knesset forum that Reform and Conservative Jews outnumber and outweigh the Orthodox (my translation was done from the Hebrew transcript in Srugim – YY).

“The members, the contributors and the leaders of AIPAC and the federations are Reform and Conservative,” Jacobs stated, adding that his people share an unconditional commitment to support the state of Israel and its citizens (on the proper side of the green line, of course – YY).

He pointed out that after Senator Joe Lieberman’s retirement, all the Jewish members of the Senate and the House will be either Reform or Conservative.

“The Reform and Conservative are the leaders in every segment of American society,” Jacobs stressed. “Therefore the fact that Israel remains the last democracy in the world that discriminates against Jewish denominations representing the majority of Jews in the world and in the United States – is pushing away Jews, puzzles many Americans and erodes Israel’s image as a democratic home that permits freedom of religion. We are not equals in the Jewish State. We believe there’s more than one, authentic way to be Jewish.”

In his response, Rabbi David Stav argued that the law in the state of Israel says we must insure the continuity of Israeli society. “I must guard the existing framework,” he vowed.


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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.


  1. I fully support Jews being herded into ghettos, as this would greatly diminish contact with non-Jews, and ensure intermarriage would be a rarity. I further support making intermarriage illegal, along with interreligious dating. This wouldn't be setting a precedent; the Nazis did exactly that in 1935 when they enacted the Nuremberg Laws, thus ensuring the purity of the Reich for its remaining 998 years. What a shonda it only lasted another 10. Nebech, nebech, nebech.

  2. Mr. Jacob's assumptions that Conservatives and Reform Jews are leaders over all the communities is a bit skewed. There are increasing numbers (I see them and meet them every Shabbos and Yom Tovim) of Jews (and non-Jewish spouses) that are attending services and events at Chabad shuls across the world. The Pew Study, for example, neglects this huge factor – count the amount of ACTIVE Reform Temples and count the amount of ACTIVE Chabad Houses and get back to me. @Dan – not sure why YOU would advocate the return to ghettos. No need. Return to HaShem – that is a better and more sustainable option.

  3. I agree that intermarriage between Jews & non-Jews could cause problems and the Jew might drift away from Torah. However, if a non-Jew is seriously devoted to the God of Israel like Ruth and other gentiles in the Bible that few are nowadays then the marriage would work well.

  4. Hopefully, that Clinton was baptized by the Reform or Conservative priest so that she can lay now claim of being Jewish.

    Her parents actions does not bring any benefits to Judaism or Israel so it is a moot point. We don't want them. HIllary kissed Suaha Arafat who claims her husband was killed by plutonium yet as a wife, wouldn't she have been exposed to it and so would Hillary, who kissed her and then BUIll and Monica Lewinsky. As you see, disease comes from the palestineans.

  5. One of the big lies is that there are more Reform and Conservative Jews in the states. One must count the amount of children in their "systems" versus Orthodox, because that's the future. Synagogue membership size isn't the most accurate criteria.

  6. Maria you need to learn …you are considered Jewish if you have a Jewish mother
    .Abraham made the covenant with Adonai,but Issac being born to Sarah is the Jewish geneological link…haplagroup k …tge "Ashkenazi gene mutation" is traced to one woman in the middle east 16,000 years ago…thst is both science and Judaism..The Cohen and Levy paternal inheritance only has to do with Jewish priest lineage…ask any rabbi..to be a Jew by blood is all about the mother…not paternal

  7. I think the issue here blurs reform and masorti as one unit…and the controversy would be solved if reform required conversion of the non Jewish party for marriage like conservative /masorti already do.tge point is raising mencshes.I have no problem with modern orthodox…but ultra orthodox I could argue are becoming an embarrassment ,not reflecting true Jewish values…the sodomy pedophilia scandals, rabbis impeding education, oppressing women,violent…this is what is not Jewish and why every masorti vote is important in Israel…jews are not in tge dark ages like Islamists…israel must be tge light of the world.i am worried about ultra orthodox non Jewish values ad much as reform Jewish marriage producing secular children

  8. In the early days Judiasm was patralineal. The reason it was changed was that before DNA testing and blood type testing, it was iimpossible to know scientifically who the father was. The same amount of genetic material comes from the father and the mother, so this has nothing to do with genetics, rather with the fatwas of hidebound rabbis who know nothing about science; if they did, they'd know the universe wasn't created in six days, and that it's a bit older than 5,774 years and two months.

  9. The finding establishes that the women who founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe were not from the Near East, as previously supposed, and reinforces the idea that many Jewish communities outside Israel were founded by single men who married and converted local women.

  10. Felix, this study is disputed by many, and backed by many. The definitive answer has yet to be discovered.

    For linguistic and geographical reasons, I believe Ashkenazic Jews are of European descent, with perhaps a bit of Turkic descent thrown in. First, Ashkenazic Jews are supposed to have emigrated from what is now Israel to the Adriatic coast of Italy, places such as Bari. From there, they migrated over the Alps. All of this took place during the Dark Ages, when Europe was far less civilized than during the Roman Empire. If you think Hannibal had a hard time crossing the Alps, what about a bunch of families with little children and babies?

    Most likely, men from Khazaria invaded central and western Europe, impregnated the local women, and converted them to Judaism, along with many of the local men. In the early 800's, when Charlemagne the Great founded the Holy Roman Empire, most of these Jews were converted to Catholicism. Those who remained Jewish are today's Ashkenazic Jews.

    Of course, most central and Western Europeans have Visigoth, Nordic, Magyar, and other ancestry, because all these groups invaded.

    Religious Jews (and others) dispute this theory, because anti-Semites have used it as "proof" that Jews aren't entitled to live in Israel. They are as much entitled to live there as we are to live in the USA. Why? Because Israel fought and won four major wars and two minor ones to defend its homeland.

  11. Let me say this very bluntly: There are no rules from God as to who is or who isn't Jewish. If you practice Judaism, you're Jewish, regardless if your name is O'Brien, Gambino, or Washington. Judiasm doesn't have a Pope who makes the rules. Israel has two chief rabbis who determine who is and who isn't Jewish in Israel, and a bunch of long-dead rabbis who made their own rules back in the day which to some Jews is the "law." I utterly reject Halacha.

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