US and Israeli rabbis in furious conversions row

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 29, 2016

An angry row over the recognition of conversions to Judaism has erupted once again between the Orthodox rabbinical establishments of Israel and the US.

The dispute arose following the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's refusal to authorise at least two conversions performed by rabbis affiliated to the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).


Deep in Madagascar, converts arise from a cold river mikveh

By Debbie Josefson, June 13, 2016

June 3 marked the 76th anniversary of the Madagascar Plan. Conceived as an alternative means to achieving the Final Solution, the plan called for the mass-deportation of European Jewry to Vichy-controlled Madagascar, where those who did not die en route would be exterminated far from the prying eyes of the international community.


Charedim seek to reverse ruling on conversion courts

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2016

The strictly-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism are trying to pass legislation that will ensure conversions are only carried out by the state's rabbinical courts.

This follows a ruling by the High Court last Thursday ordering the government to recognise conversions to Judaism carried out by privately-run Charedi batei din.


After 30 years, woman told: 'You're no Jew'

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2015

A ruling by a regional rabbinical court in Israel to retroactively cancel a women's conversion to Judaism 30 years on is causing a storm in religious circles.

The decision was made three years ago but only came to light this week after the daughter of the convert decided to appeal.


Conversion reform makes history

By Nathan Jeffay, November 6, 2014

Israel's government has enacted one of the most important conversion reforms in the history of the state, potentially making it far easier for citizens to become Jewish.

The law could have a direct bearing on around 330,000 "olim", mostly from the Former Soviet Union, who are not Jewish but entered Israel under the Law of Return, which grants citizenship to people who have Jewish ancestry but w


Anger over Jews For Jesus Auschwitz film

By Sandy Rashty, May 1, 2014

Jewish, Christian and Holocaust education groups have condemned a “sickening” promotional video that depicts Jesus being sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

The That Jew Died For You video was produced by Jews for Jesus, a group that seeks to convert Jews to belief in Jesus as the messiah.


Don't don that niqab, Madge

By Julie Burchill, October 23, 2013

On hearing that Madonna is reading the Koran, and might be converting from Kabbalism to Islam, I must admit that my first reaction was not sorrow or outrage but rather a bone-deep weariness.


No need to move the goalposts

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, June 11, 2013

Cecil Roth ended his History of the Jews with a challenge: "Throughout our history, there have been weaker elements who have shirked the sacrifices which Judaism entailed.


We don't 'marry out'. We are made to

By Ben Rich, May 23, 2013

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." - Ruth 1:16


Spanish student rabbi with a mission

By Simon Rocker, October 5, 2012

Haim Casas has just arrived in London as one of the new crop of rabbinic students at the Leo Baeck College. It is not a career that would have originally crossed his mind growing up in a Catholic family in Cordoba, Spain.

But his journey to Judaism was not just a new beginning: it was also, after centuries, a kind of return.