Why Can't Judaism Have Open Enrollment? Why can't it be like the Boy Scouts, where you are awarded for your knowledge, and receive merit badges for your achievements?

Allowing Palestinians to convert to Judaism, may not be such a bad idea. Maybe, if they understood us better they wouldn't murder us as much, not that Jews do not kill each other.

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Israel’s authority handling conversions to Judaism perhaps must rethink all this, before it rejects Palestinian applicants without review because of their ethnic origin. No doubt, applicants must be sincere, but why can't they not be foreign workers or Palestinians, that are here legally? And regardless of occupation.


An Israeli television celebrity said the Chief Rabbinate is refusing to convert her to Judaism because of her acting career. Alin Levy, a 24-year-old reality TV celebrity whose Ukraine born mother is Christian and whose father is Jewish, discussed her situation with Israel’s Channel 10 in an interview that aired last year. She said, she had opened a file to undergo Orthodox conversion and told the Rabbinate about her acting. The Religious Affairs Ministry said, she requires a fundamental change in her career and lifestyle before conversion can start.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which is the legal basis for the country’s basic laws, ensures “absolute social and political equality to all its citizens regardless of faith, race and gender.” Safeguards for converts must be establish to insure they stay Jewish, such as synagogue affiliation, continued practice and education, no doubt.

Allow the dozens of Eritrean and Sudanese infiltrators that have asked to become part of the Jewish people in the past year to convert to Judaism, receive residence permit and Israeli citizenship. Allow anyone who enters Israel for conversion to Judaism be summon for a conversion interview and start their process.

There is no reason after years and years of applicants reviews that today immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who in the worst case are assimilates of Jewish descent, have still not completed the conversion process.

For 68 years, Israel has been encouraging Jews, whoever and wherever they are, to immigrate as soon as possible. But, today with increasing regularity, conversion is being told to slow down. People who have converted in the Diaspora, through Diaspora Rabbinate's that Israel deems legitimate, have found themselves denied citizenship under the “Law of Return”, for one simple reason they were too keen to immigrate. The Ministry is asking converts who have moved to Israel on tourist visas, only to return to the Diaspora to fulfill the residency requirement. They say, time must be spent abroad as a Jew before their conversion can be recognized in Israel. “It is sad that these people have gone through such a significant and difficult process of conversion to Judaism, only to find that the State of Israel, the center of Judaism today, is giving them this slap in the face,” said Seth Farber, an Orthodox Rabbi who runs ITIM, a not for profit organization that advocates on behalf of converts. The Interior Ministry’s residency requirement affects people who have converted through both Orthodox and non Orthodox Rabbinate's. So, let there be more Tenderfoots than Eagle scouts, give out 613 merit badges for Mitzvah's and to those that conform to the ministry's requirements, as they do in Scouting.

The Chief Rabbinate and the Ministry must allow those wishing conversion to Judaism, both in the Diaspora and at home to interact on their website, that has a “live chat” option, to scan all required documents into the website, that gives detailed instruction and requirements, provides resources, that would issue a letter that the convert has fulfilled its requirements when the authorities are satisfied, that upon coming to Israel and their courts, their conversion, marriage, or divorce will be accepted.

Ever since Israel’s army started offering conversion courses a decade ago, some Haredi marriage registrars have claimed that its standards are too lax. They refuse to issue marriage certificates for any of the 4,500 graduates, even though their conversions are conducted under the supervision of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. Is this a honorable way to treat our defenders of our nation, and our Chief Rabbi?

There are times the Rabbinate approves conversions, but the Interior Ministry does not. The High Court of Justice has been partitioned in many of these cases to hear such complaints, in which the Interior Ministry refused to grant a new immigrant status recognized by both the Rabbinate in Israel and by Rabbinical authorities abroad.

Seriously, does it really have to come to this? An 18 year old with a rare type of hemophilia risked undergoing a circumcision in order to fulfill his dream of completing his conversion to Judaism. Stefan Stoyanov, moved to Israel from his native Bulgaria in 2010, joining his mother, Sarah, who had been there for two years. In 2014, after learning Hebrew and spending time studying in a yeshiva, Stefan decided he wanted to convert to Judaism. However, multiple doctors refused to circumcise him because of his medical condition. But, Stefan was undeterred. With the help of his Rabbi, Dov Kook, he connected with Professor Uriel Martinovich, the founder of the Israel National Hemophilia Center at the Sheba Medical Center Tel HaShomer, who agreed to perform the operation. Martinovich and a medical team he brought together operated on Stefan at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. Though the risks were high, and Stefan said he had been afraid he would die on the operating table, the circumcision was successful and he was finally able to complete his conversion, taking the Hebrew name “Yosef.” Rabbis and public figures came to visit and bless Yosef for becoming, in his words, a kosher Jew. No wonder Jews only account for 1/5 of 1% of the worlds population. At least 30 Ethiopian Israeli couples have been denied marriage licenses in Petva Tikvah. Despite presenting paperwork proving that they had converted to Judaism, the registrar asked them to provide a letter from a Rabbi attesting to the fact that they were a practicing Orthodox Jew. There have already been numerous cases where the Petva Tikvah Rabbinate has rejected conversions performed by the Chief Rabbinate.

Under the March 31 2016 ruling, the state of Israel must recognize Jewish conversions performed in private Orthodox conversion courts not run by its Chief Rabbinate. A network of such courts began operating last year. The ruling concerned whether three people who had converted in non Rabbinate courts could gain Israeli citizenship. Previously, Jews by choice could only gain Israeli citizenship if they converted through the Rabbinate, or if they converted outside of Israel and lived in a Diaspora Jewish community. Foreign conversions do not need to be Orthodox. Now, according to the ruling, those who convert in any Orthodox court in Israel may gain citizenship. The court’s decision read, “Oversight of legitimate conversions is not limited to the one and only possibility of the Rabbinate’s courts”. It does not force the Chief Rabbinate to recognize private conversions, nor does it require the Rabbinate to allow the converts to marry in Israel.

Converts will still not be able to marry or divorce in Israel because those rituals are run by the Chief Rabbinate, which has vowed not to recognize the private conversions. A 2014 government decision allowed any of the 30 some city Rabbis in Israel to convert people expanding authority for conversion beyond the Rabbinate’s four courts. That decision would have made conversion more flexible for approximately 400,000 Israelis, mostly Russian speaking immigrants , with no official religion. But, the decision was repealed when Haredi Orthodox parties reentered the coalition last year.

The government voted in January to expand a non Orthodox prayer space at the Kotel. In February, a Supreme Court decision required state Mikvahs to allow non Orthodox conversions. Haredi lawmakers have persuaded to reopen the Kotel plan for debate. And last month, a bill overriding the Mikvah ruling passed an initial vote.

No matter what happens, the Chief Rabbinate still won’t accept non Orthodox converts. Nor will Israel recognize non Orthodox Jewish weddings, which a large majority of Israeli Jews supports. So, while some activists hope the ruling will create a domino effect in Israel’s religious establishment, others say the only answer is wholesale reform of government policy.

“The pressure needs to be on extending recognition that will allow civil marriage in Israel,” said Uri Regev, founder of Hiddush, a religious pluralism advocacy organization. “There is no chance to get the Rabbinate to recognize these conversions.”

Computers have done miraculous work. Judaism should be a little bit more like Scouting, learning by doing, exploring interests and improving skills while working toward higher ranks and earning merit badges, learning the value of hard work, and experience the thrill of seeing it pay off. Judaism is all one religious body, some are just ore observant than others.

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