Who is a Jew?

numberstar.gifProspective converts to Judaism usually know that if you want your conversion to be accepted everywhere, it is wiser to convert under the auspices of an Orthodox Bet Din. Otherwise your conversion won’t be deemed kosher by most rabbinic authorities.

Henceforth your marriage won’t be recognized as a Jewish marriage, your children won’t be allowed in Jewish schools, they won’t be allowed to marry in the state of Israel as only the High Rabbinical Court, an Orthodox institution, will validate their wedding, when you die it will not be possible for you to be buried in an ordinary cemetery (at least in Israel, I’m not sure about other countries.)

There are obviously numerous other reasons why future converts choose to undergo an Orthodox conversion but worldwide recognition by all authorities (obviously Reform and Conservative authorities endorse Orthodox conversions) is an important factor. Or so they thought…

Apparently the High Rabbinical Court of Israel has decided to invalidate a conversion conducted 15 years ago by Chaim Druckman. This decision was made when it became obvious that the convert never adhered to Orthodox Jewish practice after her conversion.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman was born in Poland in 1944. He was a member of the National Religious Party, served in a number of Knessets, as well as deputy minister of religious affairs. He is a major figure in the nationwide Bnei Akiva movement, as well as a respected rosh yeshiva.

The fundamental principle of, “A Jew, even if he sins, is still a Jew” – seems to have gone with devastating effects on the woman’s children. Now what is worse is that the High Rabbinical Court has ruled to overrule all conversions conducted by Chaim Druckman since 1999. This ruling is bound to upset the lives of thousands who believed their had undergone a kosher conversion, are most likely to be sincere observant Jews and now discover all this is nought.

It is paradoxical, not to say cynical, that this ruling should have been issued now while every night we count the Omer, thus getting nearer to Shavuot every day, getting ready to listen to the story of Ruth, the most famous Jew-by-choice in Judaism.

Treppenwitz was the one who attracted my attention to this story in the first place; you might also like to read the JP article.