Conversion

Conversion body was ‘a failure’

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 5, 2008

The Israeli Civil Service Authority has described the Conversion Directorate in a special report as “failing in a national mission” by not succeeding in boosting the number of conversions in Israel over the past decade.

The directorate’s head, Rabbi Haim Drukman, dismissed two weeks ago by the Prime Minister’s Office, hit back at the findings, insisting that “the report is warped and maliciously targeted against me and my deputy.

“We never committed ourselves to numbers and this is a travesty of the whole issue.”

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The latest conversion row could tear us apart

By Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, June 5, 2008

The conflict over Israeli conversions will lead modern Orthodox to split from Charedim

Shavuot is a time for reading the book of Ruth: “Wherever you go, I go, your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God …” It is a time when Jews should focus on matters relating to conversions. There is much to consider.

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UK rabbi uses sermon to attack convert annulments as ‘insane’

By Simon Rocker, May 29, 2008

A leading United Synagogue rabbi has hit out at the recent decision of a rabbinical court in Israel calling for the annulment of thousands of conversions carried out in the country.

Rabbi Naftali Brawer condemned the verdict of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem as symptomatic of an “insane and oppressive interpretation” of Jewish law.

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This conversion row could hit us all

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 29, 2008

Israeli ultra-Orthodox inflexibility over converts could re-shape the diaspora

The controversy over conversion in Israel, which culminated last week in the dismissal of the head of the Conversion Authority, Rabbi Chaim Drukman, is more than just another dispute between religious viewpoints. Drukman’s firing, shortly after the Supreme Rabbinical Court ruled that his conversions were invalid, is a cultural and political debate that will determine the shape of the Jewish people for decades.

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Converts not recognised

May 22, 2008

The Conference of European Rabbis will not recognise Israeli conversions, particularly those of Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Chief Rabbinate’s State Conversion Authority. It says it opposes “Israeli rabbis shuttling to Europe especially to perform a conversion”.

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Thousands ‘not Jewish’ after conversion row

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 8, 2008

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, is to convene the entire Grand Rabbinical Court to overturn a previous ruling that could revoke thousands of conversions made over the past decade.

Three of the more conservative dayanim [religious judges] from the Court last week published a ruling that said that all the conversions performed by the special giyur [conversion] courts were “null and void”.

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Vatican seeks to ‘clarify’ altered conversion prayer

By Toby Axelrod, April 10, 2008

The Vatican has issued a clarification of the amended “Prayer for the Jews” in response to Jewish concerns over the reintroduction of references to conversion.

Issued by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the statement makes no mention of changing the prayer, which Pope Benedict XVI adjusted last summer.

But it insists that the “progress of friendly relations between the Jews and the Catholic Church over the last 40 years” should continue unabated.

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