Opponents of independent conversion would do better to cut out their objections
A few months ago Alin Levy, a fashion model, was visibly upset after concluding her first meeting with rabbinical judges at the Chief Rabbinate's conversion court. Levy appeared on a talk show and said the judges told her that due to her profession and her desire to study acting, she would not be eligible to start the conversion process and become Jewish.He's not being clear: does the Torah/bible literally state that a convert cannot work in the entertainment business in any way, shape or form? Or that they're required to wear specific garments and cannot decide for themselves? I doubt it, and he hasn't backed up his argument. Working in showbiz doesn't mean you're not observant, and there have been religious people who've worked in entertainment while remaining observant of many aspects. Shlezinger almost makes it sound like becoming religious means going to live in a monestary. He goes on to say:
The rabbinical judges who convened in Tel Aviv the next day were stunned. "We only tried to ascertain whether she understands what this will demand from her," they said. What happened with Levy perhaps illustrates in a nutshell the problem with the conversion process in recent years. The language is different, the definitions are different.
According to Halachah (Jewish law), converting a gentile into a Jew is done only through the converting person's commitment to observe the Torah and be religious. However, the Israeli public considers Zionist endeavors like making a home in the country, serving in the IDF, and contributing to society as sufficient and worthy enough of being considered a Jew.
The attempt by religious Zionist rabbis to establish an alternative to the conversion courts, under the claim that they are unpleasant, unfriendly or too strict, is unfair. Out of 27 conversion court judges, only nine of them can be defined as "haredi" (ultra-Orthodox). The rest are graduates of religious Zionist yeshivas who served in the army, and who are trying to be more lenient and stretch Halachah to its limits, and many pay the price for this when they are excluded from appointments as rabbinical judges. But sometimes there are cases in which they can't do this, because that's not Halachah, stupid.Oh for heaven's sake! Even here, he fails to consider that the Haredi-controlled rabbinate's got the final say on many conversions to Orthodox Judaism, and rejected tons of converts over the past 2 decades. Makor Rishon recently said only 8 percent of all converts were fully accepted. Even the non-Haredi conversion courts may not be innocent here.
Furthermore, is competition forbidden? I think not, and he's not helping if he's opposed to it. Nor are some of the following:
The alternative network's inception has sparked controversy within the Zionist religious sector as well.So let me get this straight. They despise the notion of separating between synagogue and state? Do they also despise the US Constitution's religion clause in the 1st amendment? This is exactly what's wrong with people like them - they're unable to appreciate laws in certain countries that served their purpose well, and thus can't bring themselves to back the same here. That is what's called coercion, and it's exactly what's led to all the problems we're facing today with religion, as dictated by the Haredis now dominating the rabbinate.
Former head of the conversion court Rabbi Haim Drukman and Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel have expressed their objection to the move, and other prominent rabbis, including Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Zvi Tau, the dean of the Har Hamor yeshiva in Jerusalem, and other conservative Zionist rabbis, soon followed suit.
Coming together, the conservative rabbis issued a joint statement saying, "The Chief Rabbinate is at the heart of our nation's Jewish identity. Private conversions severely undermine statehood and the very foundation of Israel as a Jewish state. Such actions constitute a de facto separation of religion and state. We will recognize only conversions that were performed by the Chief Rabbinate."
And look who's the 1st name objecting to somebody else's right to form their own Orthodox movement: Druckman, the same one who supported Mordecai Elon long after he was exposed as a child molestor, and refused to banish him from the yeshivas he worked at. It took campaigning by concerned parents to finally get Elon thrown out for good. Now Druckman goes out of his way kowtowing to an outfit that, in its current state, is not proving helpful to people who want to convert. I think he should shut the crap up.
It is not wrong to form your own separate Orthodox sect and conversion court. If Episcopelians and Presbytarians can run their own separate Protestant churches, then so too can Jewish Orthodox congregations. And their customs should not be considered illegitimate just because of that. We've been facing a serious problem with assimilation, and if we truly want to have more Ruths join the fold, then we have to avoid making things more difficult than need be. There's no need to give such awful impressions to people on the outside who'd like to come inside.