Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Israeli conversion crisis

Haaretz: Fears of a historic rift between the Chief Rabbinate and Orthodox rabbis overseas have been sparked by the Chief Rabbinate's recent decision not to recognize conversions and divorce decrees (gets) by most Orthodox rabbis abroad. The Rabbinate confirmed that rabbinic courts in Israel have been instructed not to recognize conversions and gets authorized by overseas rabbis until those rabbis pass Rabbinate exams in Israel. This means that Jews who underwent an Orthodox conversion abroad will have to convert again in Israel in order to be recognized as Jews by rabbinic courts. Jewish women who received a get overseas and wish to remarry in Israel will have to ask their ex-husbands for another get if the first one was approved by Orthodox rabbis not recognized by the Rabbinate.........Under the new policy, Diaspora rabbis must be examined by a special rabbinic court panel appointed by the Chief Rabbinate Council for their conversions and gets to be recognized. Rabbis seeking recognition for their gets are required, in addition to the exam, to attend a brief training program in which they join the deliberations at rabbinic courts and learn how to register gets. The Rabbinate will still continue to recognize conversions and gets by a group of some 50 senior Orthodox rabbis around the world. These rabbis, whose names appear on a list prepared several years ago by previous chief rabbis, will not be required to take the exams.
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