Israel's Chief Rabbi 'We'll stop conversion reversals'

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar and the new attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, have agreed on new guidelines limiting the powers of rabbinical courts to revoke conversions.

Under the new guidelines, if rabbinical courts question the validity of a conversion carried out by the special conversion courts, the decision will be referred to the president of the Grand Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Amar. He will decide on a special forum of dayanim that will rule on the specific case.

In the past, a rabbinical ruling to revoke a conversion was rare and many rabbis were of the opinion that a giyur was in fact irrevocable. Recently though, some rabbinical courts have begun cancelling conversions, usually on the grounds that the converts were not leading a sufficiently religious life.

A year and a half ago, a dayan of the Grand Rabbinical Court ruled that all the conversions carried out by the special court headed by Rabbi Chaim Drukman were null and void.

The new guidelines were issued in response to Supreme Court petitions against the conversion cancellations.

Last month Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yonah Metzger, said that he would appoint special marriage registrars who would act in the place of local registrars who refuse to register converts for marriage.

Last updated: 9:43am, February 5 2010