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Rita Margolis Photo: Shaul Golan
Rita Margolis Photo: Shaul Golan
 
 

The 'unworthy' Ms. Margolis

Granddaughter of Holocaust survivor who came to Israel as child, serves as IDF officer, stunned to find Rabbinate does not deem her 'Jewish enough' to marry in Israel

Reuven Weiss
Published: 01.29.13, 18:43 / Israel News

In less than four months, Rita Margolis, 26, will marry 27-year-old Captain A. Despite the fact that her fiancé serves in a combat unit and Margolis is a combat hummer operator, who repeatedly finds herself in reserve duties, the State of Israel is disallowing the two to marry, "by law."

 

Due to the sensitivity of his military position, Captain A. is prohibited from being interviewed or revealing himself, but he posted a heart-wrenching, emotional and angering post on his Facebook page, written by his wife-to-be. "Take a minute to read – this was written by my fiancé," he wrote.

 

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"My name is Rita," she wrote. "I am 26, have a Bachelor's degree and operate a combat hummer in reserves. This is not a figure of speech. I have been an active reserve soldier since my release from the IDF in 2007.

 

"My reserves, exactly like my mandatory army service, include entire weeks out in the field, driving in rough conditions, sleeping in the field and a diet which consists mainly of field rations.

 

There was no question regarding my army service. I received an order and reported for duty. By the way, prior to the army, I volunteered for a year as an instructor at a boarding school. And now to the marginal issue at hand: According to the Halacha, I am not considered Jewish. Meaning, only my father is Jewish, my mother isn't.

 

Mazel Tov!

"I have been living in Israel since the age of four," Rita's post continued, "and this is the only reality I know. We made Aliyah from the Ukraine after my father's family suffered from anti-Semitism and discrimination and a large part of my family was exterminated during WWII and the Holocaust. Why am I telling you all this? You see, a few months ago, me and my partner decided we were going to get married. Mazel Tov! Or not…..

 

"It turns out that as far as the country is concerned, the lines are drawn here. I never bothered anyone so no one ever bothered me. But in the capacity of marriage, I am being asked by my country to pack up my belongings and go find another country willing to marry me….marriage here, is for 'real' Jews only.

 

"I am ashamed. The country is turning its back on me. No, I am not a full-fledged citizen, I am a little less. Of course, I always knew that. But somehow since we decided to get married, each reserves call-up order has become especially insulting. I have no motivation to serve anymore. There is definitely the chance I will forego my next reserve duty."

 

Margolis' painful letter received thousands of supportive reactions on the web. "I saw that I also received posts like: 'Convert, what's the problem?' I don't want to. I am not looking for a conversion crash course or for the Rabbinate to do me a favor and recognize me as a Jew. I am not looking to cut corners. I have been a part of this society for my entire life. I want them to marry me like this. This is my country, I give it my all – the country should give me this right. It should allow me to marry just the way I am."

 

Although Margolis and her fiancé will marry in a Reform ceremony as opposed to a religious one, the post she wrote ended on a positive note: "Who knows, maybe in the winds of change created as a result of the election, there is a chance for a better, more equal future. We will continue to hope."

 

 

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