Preaching for the conversion hopefuls

August 21, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Efraim Halevy has responded to the attacks and the controversy over the “Alternative Rabbinic Courts for conversion ” which the Harry O Triguboff Institute has  been promoting in Israel.

Halevy is the  former head of the Mossad and chairman of the Harry Oscar Triguboff Institute in Israel .

Harry Triguboff and  Efraim Halevy

Harry Triguboff and Efraim Halevy

Halevy writes: “”Probability and Statistical Inference in ancient and medieval Jewish literature ” is the title of a doctoral thesis that awarded its author with a doctorate at the University of Toronto in Canada. Prior to that he had gained a master’s degree in mathematics at John Hopkins University.

The recipient was the 87-year-old Rabbi Nahum Rabinowitz who this week led a rabbinical court which converted a small group of youngsters to Judaism. He is a towering authority in Orthodox Halacha, a great authority on Maimonides, a Yeshiva head in Israel and a former Principal of Jews’ College London that ordained ministers of religion for the Jewish communities of the British Commonwealth .

Among his many pupils was Lord Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks , the former British Chief Rabbi. A few months ago I attended, alongside President Rivlin, a convocation at Bar Ilan University which bestowed an honorary doctorate on the Rabbi. No person in the Halachic world can dare to question the man’s intentions or devotion to the Almighty . This pious giant on our scene is not a ” rebel ” who has suddenly come out to confront the chief rabbinate of Israel. This is a figure of historic proportions who has decided to take a bold and courageous step together with outstanding authorities at his side to correct a grievous wrong committed against hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Israel who have come here under the Law of Return and have then been denied a friendly path to Judaism .

This call of Rabbi Medan, a great Rosh Yeshiva and a partner and disciple of Rabbis Amital and Lichtenstein of blessed memory and Rabbis Riskin and Stav, two municipal Rabbis of key communities – both leading figures on the Israel and international scenes – is not only directed at the chief rabbis of Israel. It is a cry of anguish and deepest concern addressed to the Prime Minister of Israel – the nearest there is today- the leader of the Jewish People . Surely he has both a moral and legal obligation to establish a system in Israel that will grant full citizen status including personal status to every person entering the gates of Israel under the Law of Return.

Surely a leader of the Jewish people must act forcefully to unite the various sects and factions and launch an urgent program to save the Jewish diaspora from ultimate extinction . Rather than stand aside for transient political considerations surely the Prime Minister would benefit from their wisdom by inviting all or their leader for a meeting to discuss the issue at hand . I am convinced both he and the public at large both in Israel and the diaspora might well benefit from such an encounter.

The situation on conversion in Israel is deteriorating from day to day.  IDF progam ” Nativ” for conversion during active service has never been at a lower ebb. Less than fifty per cent of the candidates fail the tough oral exams that appear to be crafted so as to discourage conversions. The number of children born in Israel to parents who have not converted exceeds tens of thousands. Child conversion should be at the top of our national agenda in this field and it should not have necessitated the act of Rabbi Rabinowitz to sound the clarion call loud and clear.

He has stated in recent days that he will not be stymied by the reactions to the step taken but he would surely prefer a true change of heart in Jerusalem rather than continue saving lives for Judaism in the manner done this week.
This is also a moment in history for the Jewish communities in the North America to make their voice heard. A few days ago the Prime Minister of Israel addressed them on a matter of grave concern to the security of Israel. He called upon them to unite behind him –  this is the opportunity to return a call to him to unite behind Rabbi Rabinowitz and his colleagues.

Surely he owes this to the Jewish People.


3 Responses to “Preaching for the conversion hopefuls”
  1. Ian Silver says:

    The stranglehold of extremist rabbis on the Rabbanut in Israel has to be loosened. As a Masorti/Conservative Jew, my Movement is treated with disdain by Israeli authorities, despite many rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court on religious pluralism. One cannot help but think that the actions of the Rabbanut tend to be financially-motivated, or, as in this case, designed to put a barbed-wire fence around their interpretation of Judaism, letting none but their chosen in.

  2. john nemesh says:

    Is alright for Russian immigrant soldiers to die for Israel, but be even denied the right to be buried in the same cemetery?

    What is wrong with the Ultra Orthodox?

    Do they realize that were it not for the likes of these immigrants , they and their families may be stateless and homeless.?

    Even more, was it ok for King David to convert by force , but today we turn away those wishing to convert as if we have such an over abundance of people wishing to be targets of suicide bombing, stabbings, being run over and generally attacked for being Jewish?

    The obstructionist relics of Judaism should be sidelined to allow human values to apply to human beings.

    • Shalom Norman says:

      A conditioned reflex is to criticize the Haredi circles in any state and religion related dispute. The naked reality is that out of 27 conversion Dayanim in Israel (religious Judges in the State Religious Courts) only 7 are Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox). Throughout my modest experience in the last couple of years I have met numerous religious figures in “black suits and Borsalino hats” yet inspiring with their halachic open minds, endless wisdom and open hearts ……. and too many religious figures with very colorful outfits and woven yarmulkes however with black souls…..
      Before jumping to conclusions I suggest to look closer into the backyard of the “National Religious” establishments….
      By the way I dont own a Borsalino hat neither wear a woven Kippa on a daily basis , my Kippa is transparent ….

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