Rabbi Chaim Drukman
Photo: Meshulam Levi
'Great concern.' Shai
Photo: Gali Tibbon
The United Jewish Communities, the federations of North America (UJC) sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which they request his personal involvement in finding a solution for the current conversion crisis.
The letter, signed by Chairman of the UJC’s Board of Trustees, Joseph Kanfer and President Howard M. Rieger was sent in light of the Rabbinic Court’s announcement that it intends on disqualifying thousands of conversions of people from the former Soviet Union which were carried out under Rabbi Chaim Drukman.
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Drukman is the head of a special conversion campaign whose goal is to accelerate and simplify the conversion process.
The letter stated that “few crises have so divided Israel from the North American Jewish community. Your leadership on this issue would reinforce the historic notion that the Israeli government is both representative of its citizens and the Jewish people.”
Jews around the world in general and those in North America specifically led the struggle in favor of aliyah of former USSR Jewry during the communist regime.
Since the beginning of the 90s, when the “gates were opened” these communities transferred millions of dollars to Israel in order to subsidize the aliyah and absorption of one million Jews from the former Soviet Union, some of who were obliged to undergo conversion in Israel.
The heads of the Jewish communities in the US are of the opinion that the strict stance of the Rabbinic Court will deter many people from beginning the conversion process.
Senior Vice-President and UJC Israel Director-General Nachman Shai said that “the issue of conversion is a central topic on the agenda of North America’s Jewish communities and they are following this issue with great concern.
"We hope that the prime minister’s personal treatment of the issue will help in solving the dispute and this will promote the conversion process.”