Lecturer's sacking 'not because of conversion'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 20, 2010

An Israeli lecturer in modern Hebrew who claimed she was made redundant because of her conversion from Judaism to Christianity has had her case of religious discrimination dismissed.

At an employment tribunal in Reading, Judge Lewis upheld Dr Tali Argov's complaint of unfair dismissal, but ruled that the academic was not entitled to any compensation.

Dr Argov had been working at the Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies for eight years when she converted to Anglicanism in January 2008.


Ultimately, converts will be the losers

By Seth Farber, July 22, 2010

Whatever happens in the end to the conversion law, the real losers are the potential converts. Neither the bill - which was proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu in an effort to ease the road for converts in Israel - or the virulent response of the North American Jewish community, which tried to kill the bill, was going to significantly improve the chaos that has characterised conversion in Israel for the past decade.


Chief Rabbi to give lecture on conversion

By Simon Rocker, April 29, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Dayan Menachem Gelley, senior dayan of the London Beth Din, are to take part in a lecture series next month on one of the controversial contemporary topics - conversion.

They are among speakers who feature in a seven-part course on "understanding conversion" beginning next Wednesday night at the London School of Jewish Studies in Hendon.


An offensive conversion 'solution'

By Miriam Shaviv, February 11, 2010

Six months ago, in the wake of the JFS case, consecutive commentators blasted the British courts for appearing to brand Judaism racist because it determined Jewishness by matrilineal descent and not by religious practice. Judaism cannot possibly be racist, they said, because anyone can convert into it — no matter their skin colour or ethnicity. “To be told now that Judaism is racist, when Jews have been in the forefront of the fight against racism in this country, is distressing,” wrote Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. “To confuse religion and race is a mistake.”


Beth Din rejects rabbis' call for end to conversion

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

The London Beth Din has rejected a call from a senior rabbi for a worldwide halt to conversions.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill Synagogue, chairman of the US Rabbinical Council, proposed the suspension in a JC article last week because of continuing controversy over converts in Israel.

But the Beth Din said it took “exception” to his comments which did not reflect its “principles, policies or intended plans”.


Why Orthodox rabbis must stop conversions

By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, February 4, 2010

Tradition tells us that when the Israelites stood at Sinai and embraced the Torah, they were as converts. From that day till the present, the process of conversion entails a “Sinai moment”. By definition, just as the Israelites accepted upon themselves the obligation of mitzvot then, so too the modern-day convert must accept upon himself the same.


Rabbi Amar must confront Orthodox marriage registrars

By Seth Farber, February 4, 2010

Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s signature on a document limiting the power of rabbinical courts in Israel to annul conversions is a significant step in stemming the momentum of conversion annulments in Israel. But it fails to address the wider issues of non-recognition of conversions, particularly by Israeli marriage registrars — and, in that sense, falls short of expectations.


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.


Row over conversion organisation EJF 'sex scandal'

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2010

An extraordinary war of words has broken out over the scandal-racked conversion organisation Eternal Jewish Family, whose founder quit last month over sex allegations.

Rabbi Aba Dunner, the London-based executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis, rounded on the EJF this week, telling the VosIzNeias news site that he would continue to try to stop the organisation’s “nefarious activities”.

But EJF hit back, accusing Rabbi Dunner of not refunding money that it had given to the CER.


Analysis: Is this not persecution of the weak and defenceless?

By Rabbi Seth Farber, January 14, 2010

Some years ago, a woman who had completed an Israeli Orthodox conversion course finalised her conversion to Judaism on a Friday morning by immersing in a mikveh and accepting the commandments in front of a rabbinical court. Hours later, she boarded a plane for Turkey and by Saturday morning, she and her non-Jewish boyfriend were married in a civil ceremony in Istanbul.

On Sunday morning, the new couple approached the immigration desk at Ben Gurion airport seeking to make aliyah —she on the basis of her conversion, and he as a spouse of a Jew.