Converts demand hearing on conversion nullifications

Petitioners claim that without a definitive High Court ruling, they and others would forever be uncertain of their status.

By JONAH MANDEL
October 4, 2010 04:23
1 minute read.
Converts demand hearing on conversion nullifications

Conversions. (photo credit: AP)

The validity of a recent rabbinic court ruling that undid the nullification of conversions and restored the Jewish status to two converts is being challenged by none other than the two women who had petitioned the High Court of Justice against the rabbinate, after two rabbis deemed their conversions via the State Conversion Authority under Rabbi Haim Druckman invalid.

For months the High Court had refrained from ruling that Ashdod’s municipal rabbi and Rabbi Avraham Sherman of the High Rabbinical Court had no authority to revoke Druckman’s conversions, which were conducted under the auspices of the state and the Chief Rabbinate. The rationale was that the court’s approval of the conversions would have no halachic validity, and could create future problems for the petitioners, who would be forever marked as those whose Judaism was certified by a secular, rather than by a rabbinic court.

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A few weeks ago, the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court ruled that the conversions were indeed valid, and Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein also informed the court that the rabbinical edicts undoing the conversions were invalid.

On Sunday, however, the petitioners demanded that the court conduct a definitive hearing on the validity of Druckman’s conversions, to decide on the fundamental question of whether a rabbinic court had the authority to annul a conversion.

The petitioners write that the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court did not explicitly cancel the ruling of the High Rabbinical Court, and most likely hasn’t the authority to do so, and therefore, they still fear that they and their children might not be able to wed as Jews.

Refraining from conducting a hearing on the larger issues at hand, the petitioners said, could enable future recurrences and keep the community of converts in constant uncertainty over their status.


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