Conservatives decry Amar's 'outside the wall' ruling

Conservatives decry Amar

The Rabbinical Assembly - the international association of Conservative rabbis - has issued a sharp condemnation of a ruling by Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar that rejected Conservative conversions. Amar ruled that 13-year-old Gai Ben-David, who passed away last Friday and was buried on Sunday, could not be interred in the main section of Madrid's Jewish cemetery because he had been converted in a Conservative ceremony. The story was first reported in The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "We are dismayed that this exemplary Jewish boy, a student of the Colegio Estrella Ibn Gabirol in Madrid, was not permitted a burial in the main section of Madrid's Jewish cemetery, as Rabbi Amar erroneously declared his halachic conversion to be insufficient to bury him where he belongs," declared the rabbis in a press statement on Tuesday signed by the assembly's executive vice president Rabbi Julie Schonfeld and president Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg. "The news of Rabbi Amar's decree rippled throughout the Jewish and non-Jewish world, evoking horror in all people of conscience," the rabbis wrote. Ben-David, who died of a brain tumor, was buried in a section of the cemetery separated by a row of trees, in accordance with Amar's ruling.