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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 

Judaism cannot be held hostage by the Haredi-controlled rabbinate

The Jerusalem Post's editorial spoke about the harm caused by the Haredis on religious issues and such:
Like in the Diaspora, the Jews of Israel should be permitted to operate as sovereign selves. They should be given the freedom to choose among the different streams of Judaism. They should be allowed to practice Judaism in a way that feels right for them. Religious services presently monopolized by the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate such as marriage and divorce, burials, synagogue construction, kosher supervision and the state funding of rabbis’ salaries, should be privatized.

Competition among different denominations encourages dynamic leadership and breeds excellence.
This got me to thinking: when converts to Judaism come to live here, are they trying to do so under the Law of Return and the instant benefits it provides? I think that could be the mistake they've made. In most other countries, when you immigrate from one to another, you usually wait a couple years before receiving official voting rights and other such benefits. And that's usually the case here too for people like Christians. If most people are so used to how the immigration laws work in most other countries, why shouldn't they be used to applying for it here too?

And do converts to Judaism really, truly need to endeavor to please a rabbinate that's controlled as it is now by selfish Haredis who must surely despise biblical Ruth and the example she set? Of course not! That's another reason why I believe the time has come for any Orthodox congregations in this country to form their own separate denominations that aren't part of the rabbinate, and don't have to do so if it's for moneymaking through them. Just like you have Presbytarian and Episcopelian churches, you can have Orthodox Jewish synagogue movements that differ from one another, with rabbis who work in other jobs to boot, just like how in remote times, there were plenty who worked by day in trades like farming and such.

And as far as I'm concerned, if a convert can prove him/herself in such areas as sticking with kosher food ingredients and refraining from using electrical appliances on Sabbath, then why not do a conversion in a notable river or lake, or a home-based conversion in the bathtub, with somebody who knows how to read the precise Torah lines on conversion reciting special prayers? IMHO, that's all a convert really needs.

Which leaves us with just the part about certain synagogues: if a convert has what it takes, then no matter how they performed their conversion, synagogues here should accept them without serious arguments or complaints, and be as respectable to them as anybody else. Besides, if the convert happens to be a very civilized person with a clear perspective on the differences between good and bad, right and wrong, then that's all the more reason why they should be welcomed without expressing too much concern.

And that way, Judaism can be freed up for everybody's benefit.

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Shall our faith go the way of Islam, born among Arabs, but now run and controlled by the Mongols? Shall the pure Semitic blood of the native-born Jew be diluted with the half-Slavonic blood of Russian "converts?" I say never!! Purity of blood, not purity of intention, or of
practice, shall ever be the touchstone of our tribe.

An Aryan nation statement if there ever was one. It's clear whoever posted that intellect-insulter wasn't just a Haredi isolationist, but also somebody who rejects biblical Ruth as a convert to the religion of Judaism, yet probably doesn't even have the courage to say so. I condemn your statement as unhelpful, and you should be ashamed of yourself for that. Ditto if you don't work for your own living and won't serve in the Israeli army either.

Say, I just noticed something else: are you implying Islam is a valid religion, despite all the anti-semitic horrors its been responsible for since the 7th century? If that's what you're doing, then you only undermined your cowardly drive-by comment even more. What's that supposed to mean? That converts to Islam "hijacked" the religion? Oh, that's just classic; you merely parrot the words of Dubya, and Obama. Anyone who's going to downplay serious issues and not make distinctions between good and bad religions does not belong in Judaism to begin with.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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