Triguboff thanked for conversion support

December 2, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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A major legislative reform of the conversion process in Israel has been amended as an administrative decision in an Israeli Cabinet meeting.

Harry Triguboff and Halevy

Harry Triguboff and Efraim Halevy

Named after MK Elazar Stern the “Stern Bill” attempts to address the reality that arose in the wake of the mass immigration of Russian Jewry after 1990 which brought along an estimated 322,000 citizens who were eligible to immigrate to Israel under “The law of Return” yet who are not considered Jewish from Rabbinic “Halachic” perspectives by the Israeli Rabbinate .

In a letter to Harry Triguboff sent after the decision was taken by the government Mk Elazar Stern thanked the Australian philanthropist for his consistent support to his conversion related initiatives since he was elected to the Knesset .Warmly and Heartily referred to Mr. Triguboff ” When we first met in Sydney a few months before I was elected to the Knesset I was inspired by your passion and determination on issues of Jewish continuity and conversion. Among very few supporters in the diaspora your strategic vision on the future of Jewish people has become a tailwind that has fueled me in difficult times in the twisting Israeli political arena. “wrote MK Stern the architect of the Conversion Bill.

The Stern Reforms aim to decentralize the state conversion system, promote competition and more choices for the conversion candidate and will certainly improve service to make the conversion process less bureaucratic. The purpose of the bill is to dramatically expand the options for Orthodox conversions in Israel, all while allowing more moderate rabbis to enter this important and fateful arena.

According to MK Elazar Stern “(The bill) enables potential converts to approach a rabbi who they feel understands them the best for the process”

“The “Stern Bill” ratified by a government’s decision will benefit hundreds of thousands of Israelis who had been stymied for years by an outdated and unfriendly conversion process at the hands of the Chief Rabbinate,” said Tzohar founder and chairman Rabbi David Stav.

The Israel based Harry Oscar Triguboff Institute played an important role through its activities in Israel and in the former Soviet Union to formulate the Jewish status of the Russian speaking new immigrants. In partnership with The Tzohar Rabbinic Association the Shorashim initiative of the Harry Triguboff Institute was successful in solving issues for over 10,000 Russian speaking and Latin American new immigrants providing them a full status as Jews approved the state Rabbinic courts. “The Triguboff institute through Tzohar and the “Shorashim initiative” operates in a way that no state bureaucracy would be able to conduct with achievements of strategic values and I thank you for being behind it.”

The Triguboff Institute Chaired by former Mossad Chief  Efraim Halevy with the institute’s Executive Director Shalom Norman initiated last year the most comprehensive study on the perceptions of Jewish Identity amongst Russian speaking new Immigrants. The study led by Chief Scientist of the Absorption Ministry Prof. Zeev (Vladimir) Hanin identified an established cohesive Israeli Jewish Collective in the over one million Russian speaking immigrants that doesn’t fully comply with the Rabbinic “Halachic” approach. The challenge for the religious leaders is to translate the sociological trends into an official formality fully recognized by the state authorities. In this respect The “Stern Bill” suggests the beginning of a long journey towards a solution.

Recently Mr. Ephraim Halevy and Shalom Norman have been active to promote further support for the “Stern Bill” including letters of endorsement to Prime Minister Netanyahu from distinguished members and former presidents of The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and The American Jewish Committee (AJC).

Efraim Halevy commented: “Now the genie is out of the bottle and it is impossible to put this genie back in the bottle. We have to ensure that this is not reversed….we should implement the reforms fast ….we should be ready to continue and put more pressure to the point of no return”.


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