Analysis: Converts left in crisis by rabbinical courts

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The annulment of Yossi Fackenheim’s conversion has yet again called into question the conduct of Israel’s rabbinic courts. Not only is the fact that he is the son of one of the 20th century’s leading Jewish theologians bound to produce outrage over his treatment; so, too, is the very idea of retroactively stripping a person of their Jewish status.


Still fighting the battle over Israeli conversions

By Mordechai Beck, January 14, 2009

For many Israelis, Rabbi Chaim Druckman represents the very essence of religious Zionism. His cheerful countenance, swathed in a flowing white beard, commands great respect well beyond the confines of the Zionist yeshivah world in which he has been a major player for almost half a century.


Convert row: US confused

July 18, 2008

The United Jewish Communities in America has asked Israeli premier Ehud Olmert to intervene in a conversion row. The group appealed after Israel’s higher rabbinical court suggested up to 15,000 conversions might be revoked.


JFS admissions policy backed by judge

July 3, 2008

A challenge to the admissions policy of the JFS Comprehensive School in Kenton, North West London, appears to have ended today after Mr Justice Munby ruled the policy to be "entirely lawful and proportionate to the aims and objectives of the school." Sitting in Cardiff, the judge said that Jewish status could only be defined by Jewish law, and was not something to be determined by the secular courts.


Converted Reform? You are a Jew

By Jonathan Romain, June 20, 2008

A Reform leader replies to Charles Golding’s attack last week on the validity of Reform conversions

How could he have got it so wrong? When Charles Golding launched his blood-frothing attack on Reform conversions on this page last week, he made two major errors.

One was his timing. It was so last century. Most Jews today — whatever their religious inclination, be it left, right or centre — agree that the days of “ya-boo-I’m-better-than-you” fulminations are no longer appropriate.


The conversion row: pure politics

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 20, 2008

Religion is not the prime reason for the recent spate of conversion annulments

Three weeks ago, in a Shabbat sermon about which he must have thought a great deal, Naftali Brawer, rabbi of the United Synagogue at Borehamwood, launched a ferocious attack against those of his colleagues — in Israel and elsewhere — who have proudly claimed responsibility for, and enthusiastically supported, one of the most malevolent rabbinical decisions of recent times.


Jews for Jesus in new push

By Candice Krieger, June 20, 2008

Rabbis express deep concern after JC investigation reveals scale of missionary group’s membership drive

The missionary group Jews for Jesus has launched a new push to gain the allegiance of British Jews, the JC can reveal.

More than 30 volunteers from the London branch of the international organisation, whose central tenet is that Jesus is the Messiah and that Jews need to recognise him as such, are approaching and handing out leaflets to Jews across London.


Rabbi backs conversion sermon

By Simon Rocker, June 20, 2008

A United Synagogue rabbi has hit back after being sharply criticised by a colleague for his outspoken comments on Israel’s conversion crisis.

In a letter to the JC, Rabbi Naftali Brawer, joint vice-chairman of the US Rabbinical Council, responded to the claims of Hendon’s Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury, the council’s immediate past chairman, that he has been “intemperate” and “unfair”.


State and religion clash on converts

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 20, 2008

In an unprecedented clash between state and religion, Justice Minister Daniel Friedman announced this week that he will act to fire the Dayan (rabbinical judge) who ruled that all the conversions made over the last nine years by the special conversion courts were null and void.

The ruling has caused chaos in the already unsteady conversion process in Israel.


Converted Reform? You’re not a Jew

By Charles Golding, June 13, 2008

The Orthodox columnist offers his own scathing view of what he calls a ‘failed Reform experiment’

Not a week passes in the Jewish media without a reference to it. Acres of print are devoted to its analysis. Diverse stories all boil down to one question. Who is a Jew?