Harry Oscar Triguboff Institute Launched in Jerusalem

September 12, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Meriton chief Harry Triguboff has inaugurated the Harry Oscar Triguboff Institute in Jerusalem…a project to aid the authentication of immigrants’ religious status.

Harry Triguboff and Shalom Norman

The Institute will support spectrum of activities that will promote legislative and regulative efforts that will enable to establish a solid Jewish lineage and identity amongst FSU and Latin America immigrants within the Israeli society.

Sydney-based Triguboff  is a major contributor to Jewish bodies and institutions in Israel and around the world.

He has inaugurated the Institute bearing his name in Beit Morasha, Jerusalem.  The Harry O Triguboff institute will act as  a keen proponent of all enterprises promoting the regulation of the religious status of emigrants from the former Soviet Union and Latin America, who have immigrated to Israel since the beginning of the 1990s.

The General Manager of the Triguboff Institute in Israel & The Director of Israel Operations of the Harry O. Triguboff Foundation, Mr. Shalom Norman, accompanied Mr. Triguboff throughout his entire visit.

The initiatives operated in cooperation with the TZOHAR Rabbis Organization and with the support of the Toronto based  Dov  Friedberg Foundation, and the Jewish conversion team at the Prime Minister’s Office, include, among others, Project “Shorashim”, whose purpose is to assist thousands of emigrants from the former Soviet Union who are, to date, required to prove their Judaism when registering at the Israeli Rabbinate, prior to their marriage. For the majority of applicants, the professional staff of Shorashim constitutes an exclusive and last resort for allowing couples to ultimately marry in Israel, under Jewish Law.

At present, there are 200,000 immigrants in Israel whose registration as Jews at the religious authorities is subject to inquiry. In many cases, immigrants who are asked to provide proof of their Judaism decide, following negative experiences with the religious authorities, to forego a Jewish wedding and registration as Jews in Israel. The formation of a class of Israeli citizens, among emigrants from the former Soviet Union, who have no given religious status, will in the long-run create one more crucial aspect of the demographic problem that threatens the State of Israel and its definition as a Jewish state.

The staff of “Shorashim” aims to serve each and every Jew that requires assistance in the process of regulating his/her status at the Israeli religious authorities, which is a prerequisite for regulating the registration of their religious status in the Israeli Population Census by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

During his visit, Mr. Triguboff met with the professional staff of Shorashim Project, headed by  Shimon Har Shalom and with young emigrant couples from the former Soviet Union He  heard from them directly about the assistance they were provided in the process of regulating their religious status. In addition, Triguboff held discussions with the team leading the initiatives, including Efraim HaLevy, Prof. Benny Ish Shalom, chairman of the TZOHAR Rabbis Organization and the Chief Rabbi of Shoham  – Rabbi David Stav, Chairman of the World Zionist Organisation – Avraham Duvdevani, ,  and the General Manager of the Triguboff Institute  Shalom Norman.

Harry Triguboff also met with senior government officials, including Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs – MK Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, Minister of Foreign Affairs –MK Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Justice – MK  Ya’akov Ne’eman, Chairman of the Coalition – MK  Ze’ev Elkin and MK Shaul Mofaz.

At  these meetings, Triguboff discussed with Knesset Members, the implications of the way government bodies handle the religious status of immigrants and the obstacles on the road to update the conversion legislation in light of the current argent needs.

Triguboff emphasised the importance in promoting the process for the future of the Jewish people not only in the State of Israel but also in the Jewish Diaspora.

Shalom Norman said: “Half a million Israeli citizens, who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in the last two decades, and whose status as Jews is yet to be regulated – are a ticking time bomb. If no solution is found, whether by way of a pleasant and friendly conversion, or by regulating their status in a process of clarifying their Judaism, this time bomb will explode in our hands and undermine our ability to maintain the State of Israel as a Jewish State for generations to come.”

Harry Triguboff added: “The problems were presented to me during my visit last year. I decided to contribute, and here I am a year later witnessing the solutions. The most important aspect in any significant project is that people are working hard to turn its vision into a reality. I’m happy to say that I have met such people, and I am confident that they will lead the process of change that has become so crucial in the current state of affairs.”



2 Responses to “Harry Oscar Triguboff Institute Launched in Jerusalem”
  1. Dear Friends:

    As the Coordinator of the Half-Jewish Network, an international organization for the adult children and grandchildren of intermarriage, I appreciate Mr. Triguboff’s concern for the half-Jewish citizens of Israel. He seems to be a kindly person, and I wish more Diaspora Jews were concerned about half-Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora.

    However, this institute he has started will not resolve the problems of the half-Jewish citizens of Israel. Basically, it is another effort to get them to undertake Orthodox Jewish conversions, of which many have failed in the past.

    This type of project, though well-meant, violates the religious and civil rights of half-Jewish people in Israel — it requires them to become Orthodox Jews or prove ancestry according to halacha.

    Those who refuse Orthodox Jewish conversions are not allowed to marry other Jews in Israel, are refused burial in Jewish cemeteries there, and are subjected to social and legal discrimination.

    What if Australia and New Zealand had a citizenship policy that the adult children of a Christian and a Jew could not be considered a full Australian or New Zealand citizen unless that person converted to the Anglican church? Not Catholic or Mormon or Presbyterian — but only Anglican.

    If such policies were even proposed, both the Jewish and Christian communities of Australia and New Zealand would rise up against them as anti-Semitic.

    Such policies were put in place in Europe between the 18th century and WWII by some Christian governments and discriminated against the Jews. These policies laid the groundwork for the abuse and some deaths of half-Jewish people during the Holocaust and in the former Soviet Union (FSU) countries.

    Why has Israel installed a mirror image of these policies?

    These policies are morally wrong, undemocratic, and are opposed by Israeli Jewish groups that my group supports. I would strongly suggest that Mr. Triguboff donate his money to the Israel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, or the Association for the Rights of Mixed Families (in Israel) or the New Family.

    These organizations have fought hard to give half-Jewish people in Israel full citizenship, including freedom of religion and the right to identify as they choose — the same civil and religious rights that they are guaranteed in New Zealand and Australia.

    Israel needs to abolish the “who is a Jew” laws and projects should not be established that compromise with the morally tainted Israeli laws and policies against half-Jewish people.

    Anyone who wants more information about the poor treatment of half-Jewish people in Israel is welcome to visit my group’s website, where it is extensively documented. For one thing, many of them are called “Psuley Hitun” (forbidden to marry).

    Again, I wish to stress that I believe Mr. Triguboff is undoubtedly sincere in his concern for the half-Jewish people of Israel, but I believe he should ask half-Jewish Israelis why such projects have failed in the past.

    Robin Margolis
    Half-Jewish Network

  2. Nathan Cherny says:

    This is a wonderful contribution. Many thanks.

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