In the past week, the chief rabbis of Israel and major rabbinic leaders of the Religious Zionism stream have been outspoken contesting the new conversion bill. Publishing their comments on Israeli websites, giving speeches and Torah lectures, and speaking to their students, rabbis such as Chaim Druckman, Shlomo Aviner and Yaacov Ariel have all concluded that the present law is a threat to Judaism and the future of the Jewish people.
… The above-mentioned rabbis speak of three problems with the law:
“When you’re centralizing authority, to whom are the people you’ve given this power responsible to?” Rabbi Avi Weiss, founder of the liberal Orthodox rabbinical school Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, told JTA.
“A convert’s evaluation can continue till the end of their lives.”
The more people opt out of the rabbinate-managed system of conversion, marriage, burial, the closer we get to a tipping point — when enough Israelis will no longer abide by rabbinate rules, it will finally be recognized by Israelis to be what it already is, a nuisance rather than a huge problem.
Then, the question of whether it should be dismantled will become one of less urgency and less importance. Mainly, a question related to the waste of funds on an outdated institution.
The rabbinate should not be looking at how much they dislike a profession or how inappropriate it is for a woman to be in it. What they should focus on is enforcing their own rules about the sincerity of commitment to Halacha by the potential convert.
The power of the radical rabbis will only be reversed if we exercise people power. We must insist that a moderate Zionist rabbinical leadership take control of fundamental issues affecting all Jewish citizens. If the haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate remains an obstacle, the Modern Orthodox and national religious camp should set up its own independent rabbinate.
I think that we can all agree that the two main events in the Jewish world of the past century were the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. These two cataclysmic events changed the present Jewish society radically if not even permanently. Yet much of Orthodoxy inexplicably ignores these two events as though they never happened.
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