"A strictly observant, learned man who studied at a prestigious yeshiva recently applied for permission to marry. But a rabbinical examination revealed that he was not even Jewish - his father had married a gentile woman after the Holocaust and had been too ashamed to tell his children the truth."
The above is one of the examples Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger cited as leading him to begin working towards the establishment of a worldwide information center in which information on all Jewish marriages will be stored.
"There is a need for a computerized center to gather information on all Jews who marry according to Jewish law," Metzger said on Monday at the 'World Conference on Jewish Civil Law' in Jerusalem. In his speech, the rabbi stressed the importance of marriage witnesses' testimony to prevent legal errors.
Rabbi Metzger said that there is a need to correct stringent rulings on marriage registrations in Israel and abroad so as to avoid situations in which couples come before the rabbinate to marry and are rejected.
Today, in Jewish communities across the world, anyone who wants to marry is forced to prove their Judaism by submitting to an in-depth investigation by a rabbinical court of Jewish law (Beit Din).
This year marked the 17th year of the annual conference which was held over the course of three days - in which dozens of speakers took part in varied discussions, among them former chief rabbis of Israel, chief local rabbis, rabbinical judges, yeshiva heads, public figures, Knesset members and legal scholars.
In his opening remarks, organizer Rabbi Arusi called on the ministers and MK's in attendance to approve of legislation aiming to transfer more powers to rabbinical courts and to bestow the courts with legal authority rather than simply view them as arbiters.