Bintel Blog

Poof, You’re Not Jewish Anymore

By Daniel Treiman

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Jewschool’s Josh Frankel is up in arms — and with good reason:

Just when you thought the conversion mess couldn’t get any worse - the good folk in Israel drop another bomb. The Jerusalem Post reports that the High Rabbinical Court has ruled to invalidate, retroactively, all of the conversions performed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman since 1999.

Get this straight, Rabbi Chaim Druckman isn’t a reform, conservative, or heck even some strange liberal YCT guy. Rabbi Chaim Druckman is a major Rosh Yeshiva, a recognized halakhic scholar, and at times has been in charge of the national religious education system in Israel. His only offense apparently - he wears a knitted yarmulke.

This isn’t a little thing. Rabbi Druckman isn’t just a private rabbi in a little synagogue. He was the head of the official, government conversion authority. This means that thousands of people’s conversions have been effectively invalidated. Also, this isn’t just a question of whether your local synagogue will let you enroll your kids in day school. This means that thousands of people are no longer Jewish, their kids are no longer Jewish, they are no longer married, they can not get married, they can no longer be buried in ordinary cemetaries, and can no longer go to religious schools. They have been placed as second class citizens. All apparently because one woman, more than fifteen years after she converted was no longer shomeret shabbat - according to the ideals of this rabbinic court.

Here’s The Jerusalem Post’s article on the ruling.

UPDATE: Writing in Ha’aretz in response to this ruling, Asher Maoz opens fire. Meanwhile, The Jerusalem Post reports, Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, is trying to reassure converts, and the Knesset is planning to take up the issue.

UPDATE II: The Rabbinical Council of America is lending its voice to the chorus of critics of the rabbinic court’s opinion, JTA reports.



Comments
David Mon. May 5, 2008

Apparently, he also signed on documents falsely. That a bit more than just wearing a nitted kippa

invisible Thu. May 8, 2008

why is it only a good reason to be up in arms when it's an orthodox rabbi being discriminated against? where's the spirit of amcha? in reading these stories, i have gotten the feeling that people tolerate the legal prejudice against liberal jewish groups but when the fetishized bearers of "authentic tradition" are inconvenienced, it's unjust.

Gabriella Wed. Jul 16, 2008

I am deeply worried about the Jewish people at this point in time. I can not believe that people who converted in a halachahically orthodox manner would be treated in such a ruthless cruel way. Who was Rut? Who but King David fought for land?The converts are always suppose to embody the highest standard and yet the majority of ordinary Jews do nothing religious even on holy blessed land.How can the rabbis keep such a double standard all the time?Why the hypocrisy ? The converts have the teach the Jews how to be Jews all the time!! Converts who usually give up their entire families, friends and jobs to move to Israel should be treated without any consideration or compassion?What about the Jews violating halachah who are karat? What about them?If the rabbis can prove two or three generations existed before those Jews its all swept under the rug.In Jerusalem, gays marched last year what rabbi can look any convert in the face and not be seen as a liar who participated in this? What is Tel Aviv to Israel? When Ethiopians were brought to Israel no one challenged Ovadia Yosef and they all claimed that they were Jews and there was too much racism in the country to convert.We can not challenge Ethiopians who had nothing but crosses and a sacred book that no one can translate but a convert studying and sacrificing for the Jewish people is nothing?Mose had to wander in the dessert for 40 years with Israelites behaving as pagans so that people who would convert millennniums later could be treated like this?

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