A rabbinical judge ruled recently that a woman who converted to Judaism 15 years ago was no longer Jewish, and that her children, who were born after she had already converted, were also not Jewish.
Moreover, the judge stated that the woman's marriage was invalid, and that there was therefore no need to grant her a divorce.
The judge ordered that the woman, her children and even her husband, a Jew by birth, be added to the list of those not allowed to marry by an Orthodox rabbi.
Rachel (not her real name) converted 15 years ago in a special conversion court headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman. Following the conversion she married Boaz (not his real name), and they have lived in Israel ever since. Their two children were brought up Jewish and Israeli.
Recently, the couple decided to get a divorce. They separated on good terms, reached a dignified divorce settlement and held a respectable divorce ceremony at the rabbinical court.
However, during the divorce process, one of the rabbinical judges decided to inquire a little further about Rachel's conversion, and asked her about her mitzvot observance. Displeased with the answer he received, the judge ruled that Rachel's conversion was null, and that subsequently her children were not Jewish too.
All conversions invalidDid the judge forget the Halacha ruling that states that a convert is a Jew in the full sense of the word? Where is the "love for the foreigner" Judaism prides itself in? Where is the compassion and morality?
The judge in fact ruled that all conversions signed by the special conversion court were invalid, because the court was headed by "heretics" and "criminals". This ruling implies that the thousands of conversions conducted by such courts were unacceptable.
Rachel and Boaz decided to fight the ruling, for their sake and the sake of their children, but their personal battle also represents tens of thousands of people, who according to the new rules will discover that they are no longer considered Jews and are therefore unable to wed by an Orthodox rabbi or be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
Rivkah Lubitch is head of the Center for Women's Justice Haifa office. She is a rabbinical pleader with six years experience and has an MA in the history of the Jewish people