The difficult battles of the first days of fighting the Swords of Iron war in the Gaza border communities gave birth, among other things, to a large-scale wave of soldiers who wanted to convert. One of those soldiers is A - a soldier in one of the special units that fought inside the Gaza-border kibbutzim. His unit was sent on Black Saturday to Nahal Oz, where it was split into two parts. Half remained to fight in Nahal Oz, while A and his team were sent to Kfar Aza. For more than two days, A and his fellow soldiers fought in the kibbutz until they managed to completely clear it of terrorists.
After the fighting on the border ended, A's unit was sent to the northern border, where he appealed to the Military Conversion Court to advance as quickly as possible the completion of his conversion process that began over 10 months ago.
At the end of last week, A came to the military conversion court, for a hearing in the presence of three judges. During the hearing, the judges determine if the candidate for conversion has completed the process successfully and if he can undergo conversion. After he answered the judges' questions, A asked to be allowed to explain to the judges why he wanted to complete the conversion procedure as quickly as possible.
"I really wanted to come here today and complete my conversion because I know that I may die in battle, and if that happens, God forbid, I want to die as a Jew. That's why it's important for me not to wait," A said to the judges in a voice choked with tears.
The judges asked the members of the military rabbinate to do everything possible so that A's conversion could be completed that same day. Several other hearings and appeareances were held the same day and A's conversion process was completed.
At the end of the hearings, A apologized to those present for bursting into tears during the initial discussion.
"Everything that happened in the battles came out of me at that time. This is the first time I allowed myself to release everything that had accumulated inside me since the beginning of the war. Because of everything I saw there, I realized that I had to do everything to complete the conversion process as quickly as possible," he said.
Lt. Col. Kobi Gridish, an officer of the military conversion court, said he would not soon forget A. "A's story won our hearts. We were all moved with him at when he accepted the responsibility of mitzvot. Since the beginning of the hostilities, we have received many inquiries from soldiers who are in the middle of the conversion process who ask us to help them speed up their conversion process as much as possible so they can fully join the people of Israel. The great desire of the converts to reach the conversion court in order to accept the mitzvot at this time of war encouraged us to promote discussions despite the complex situation, in order to help them as much as possible and to add new souls to the Jewish people," he said.
At the same time, in order to meet the wave of requests from the prospective converts, it was decided in the military rabbinical corps to issue a military call-up of rabbis who can serve as conversion court judges, to assist the converts in the process in the shadow of the war. The military rabbinate reports many requests to open a conversion case since the beginning of the war, and as of now there is an increase of about 10% compared to last year's figures, with two months still left until the end of 2023.