Yesterday they were doing it to non-Orthodox Jews in Israel and outside of Israel. Today, they are doing it to Orthodox Jews outside of Israel. Tomorrow they’ll do it to…
A reminder to:
those of us who justified the exclusion of Conservative and Reform Jews from influence over religious life in Israel or acceptance of their rabbis and rabbis’ rulings by claiming that a line must be drawn somewhere with tradition;
those who claimed that if a line isn’t drawn, it is clear that Judaism will wither and die;
those who suggested that it is clear the Orthodox preserve Judaism and have been the only stewards of our traditions to preserve our religion —
— it seems you are now victims of your own claims.
It appears that the Israeli Rabbinate has now determined that this line which determines what is Jewish and what is not rests in Israel with them. In what can only be described as a FUCK YOU to Orthodox rabbis outside of Israel, the Rabbinate has determined that it shall no longer accept their conversions or divorce decrees.
That’s right, you could convert with the strictest Orthodox rabbi this side of the Atlantic, and unless your rabbi is in on the Israeli Rabbinate’s list of fifty pre-approved rabbis, your conversion is worth about as much as a pig’s foot in a kosher butcher shop. If you seek to live in Israel or have your children marry an Israeli Jew, you will have to convert all over again. If you’re a woman who has battled with your husband for years to receive a get (divorce decree that the man has to give a woman), you had better not move to Israel because in Israel you are not divorced yet. You had better start negotiating again – not to worry, you can be sure your
ex husband will be thrilled to take you to the cleaners once more.
The other day, people here were justifying how the Israeli Rabbinate was compelling Ethiopian Jews to convert to Judaism despite their having millenia of Jewish traditions and faith as their pedigree. Well, I can only hope that those who were making these claims are not North American Orthodox converts, cuz you’re in for the same treatment.
I encourage the North American Orthodox community to join forces with the Conservative and Reform movements in trying to impress upon Israeli politicians to compel the Rabbinate to change this new policy. The Conservative and Reform movements have plenty of experience, but little heft in Israel. Perhaps the North American Orthodox can add this necessary heft. Another approach would be to urge Israel to remove Israeli Rabbinate control over civic matters in Israel altogether. While that may not help within your communities whenever a North American moves to Israel, it will at least ensure that by Israeli law, your wives, husbands, children and parents are not penalized for being…Orthodox, but from the wrong side of the tracks.
Oh, if you’re in Israel and you’re Modern Orthodox you can rest assured that you’re next. Expect your rabbis to be excluded in a short little while – as soon as some chief rabbi gets it into his head that he can get away with it. After all, there’s a line to be drawn when it comes to preserving Jewish traditions and culture and if we cross that line, Judaism will be destroyed.