Mar 19, 2014

Conversion Law will make Chief Rabbis irrelevant

As redundant as the positions of the two Chief Rabbis has become, they are on the way to being made even more symbolic.

With the passing of the new conversion law in the Knesset legislative committee (the bill now heads to the Knesset for voting), The MKs have stripped the Chief Rabbis of their authority over the system of conversions in Israel.

The new law will allow any city rabbi to establish a beis din for conversions and potential converts will be able to go to any rabbi he or she wants in order to convert - if one rejects the potential convert, for whatever reason, they can shop around until they find a rabbi who will convert them.

I don't know if the law is good or bad. The haredim and some DL are upset about it saying it will bring about the destruction of Judaism.

But good or bad, as soon as the law passes, the Chief Rabbis will have become irrelevant. What are the Chief Rabbis for if not to oversee such major systems such as that of conversion?

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  1. Great. The DL will surely provide at least one "Rabbi" that will process giyurim without any intention of being mekayem mitzvos.
    It will lead to a Sefer Yochsin.
    Nobody will recognize these giyurim, other than maybe a few DL wll be meshadech....

  2. Everything I have read on this topic says you are wrong. The Chief rabbinate will still provide the rules and the confirmation for which City Rabbis have the ability to convert people.
    This doesn't make the Chief Rabbi irrelevant in any shape or form.

  3. Hey, don't put all DL rabbis in one group. So Beit Hillel splinter group is supporting because they want to reduce the Chie Rabbinate power, but believe it or not Tzohar is against the law. It goes with saying that the DL Hardal rabbis are deadset against. Not that that matters because only Shetboun is listening to his rabbi.

    Rafi, part of the law is to pave the way for other forms of conversion as well of rabbis and rabbanettes.

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  5. As an Orthodox convert, I think this is a needed step to correct what the Chief Rabbis did in 2010. People talk about halachic conversions, but there is disparity between what the Shulchan Aruch and Talmud say about conversions and the distrust with which converts are handled today. A convert should absolutely be able to go to another Rabbi if they are rejected by one, just as the three converts in the Talmud did. As that story demonstrates, sometimes a gentler approach is needed to bring a person "under the wings of the Divine Presence." Not every two personalities mesh, but that does not make a convert insincere.

    What really seems to be at issue here is the concern over Rabbis in LA and Riverdale who claim to be Orthodox, yet publicly criticize Chazal and attempt to change the sacred traditions of Judaism, e.g. ordaining women as Rabbis. These "Rabbis" should be stripped of their Orthodox smicha so that any conversions they perform are considered Conservative and thus ignored. What was done in 2010 has only put converts in Israel and the Diaspora in limbo and made to be political pawns, and it was wrong. The Torah makes it very clear how to treat a convert, and how to treat an apikorus. Do not punish gerim for the actions of apikorsim.

    1. Kate - I agree 100% with your first paragraph, and have even written about the disparity between what is required in halacha and what is required tpday by the rabbonim. I have commented more about it offline, even asking rabbis about the disparity and have yet to hear a good explanation.. mostly they go to saying how the need for stricter requirements happened due to fraudsters and insincerity, etc.

      regarding your second paragraph I am clueless. I dont even know what you are referring to.

    2. Ah, sorry. Let me explain what I meant. To my understanding, the Chief Rabbis placed restrictions on who could perform conversions in 2010 because of concerns over how left wing some Modern Orthodox Rabbis were becoming. Traditional Orthodox Rabbis do not trust the conversions of these men, but I am frustrated that it is ultimately converts who are paying the price.

      Thank you very much for speaking up on converts' behalf. I don't accept those explanations, either. An insincere or fraudulent convert will have to answer to G-d, and so will a Rabbi who prevented a Jewish soul from joining his/her people.


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