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Jewish enough to survive?
Op-ed: Suggested reform may sound wonderful, but converts will continue going through hell
As opposed to the other monotheistic religions, the Jewish religion is not missionary, and does not rejoice openly in taking in members of other religions. One can see this fact as racism, and one can also understand that the goal of the first leaders of the religion was that only those who want to be Jewish in all sincerity and are willing to torture their souls and devote themselves, will be able to become Jewish.

 

While in Christianity it's enough to be baptized and in Islam it's enough to commit and repeat a few sentences, Judaism demands that converts take an exhausting path before being recognized as such.

 

But these laws, regulations and customs were written hundreds of years ago and are not in touch with modern times. As it happens, the major waves of immigration have brought to Israel hundreds of thousands of people whose Jewishness is questionable at best. These immigrants contribute to society and to the State as much as most haredim, and usually much much more.

 

In the majority of cases they also really want to be Jewish, but the archaic rabbinic establishment – loyal to the spirit of the fathers of the fathers of its forefathers – does everything in its power to make them feel unwanted. In other words, it gives them hell in order to see if they are Jewish enough and willing to suffer quietly just so their identity card will say: Jewish.

 

The new reform, which is the fruit of cooperation between the Habayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid parties, could have been wonderful if it were not known and clear in advance that even in the suggested innovative concept, those providing the official kosher stamp for the conversion and those training and guiding the conversion institutes will be those same clenched rabbis, the product of the distorted rabbinical courts.

 

Unfortunately, I have a hunch that the result of the move will be that instead of one irrelevant conversion course, there will eventually be quite a few such courses, which in the great Jewish-Israeli tradition will fight for budgets and create a bureaucratic mess. They may have some amiable judges there, but the bottom line will be the same: Eat sh*t and let's see if you're Jewish enough to survive.

 

 

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