Kol Ami: Conversion Law?

May 5, 2015 by

In Israel, the so-called “Conversion Law,” a bill that would allow local rabbis, rather than only members of the Chief Rabbinate, to initiate and complete the conversion process, is on the table in the negotiations to form a new government. Some say the bill represents a necessary reorganization of the bureaucracy that currently controls the conversion process in Israel. Others believe that, even though it stipulates that the Chief Rabbinate must give final approval, the new law would still “water down” the process. On The Jewish Voice’s Facebook website, the question last month was: Do you favor the conversion bill?


Clipart_KA KalmanI favor it, because no one has the moral or ethical right to coerce another to abide by anyone else’s religious dictates. If a person decides to follow Judaism, that is a private matter and no one should dictate how he goes about it.

Michail Kalman

Haifa, Israel


Clipart_KA GreenwaldI absolutely favor the Conversion Bill. Let’s look to Ruth, grandmother of King David, whose two-part vow is essentially all we need: Your people are my people and your G-d is my G-d.

Carol Greenwald

Chevy Chase, MD


Clipart_KA EsterConversion to Judaism is a total disgrace. Fraud, corruption, theft, extortion, and sexual favors are routine. Conversions can cost thousands of dollars and destroy families, all because of a lack of organization, standards, and oversight. It must stop. Only Israeli courts, under strict supervision—which does not include unnecessary hareidi customs or non-halachic requirements—should be allowed to oversee conversions.

Avigael Ester

Jerusalem, Israel


Clipart_KA WeinSynagogue and communal rabbis, by the very nature of their personal involvement with the people of their area and congregation, are more prone to succumb to outside and personal influences in such sensitive matters as conversion than are the ivory tower, disconnected, and scholarly rabbinical courts of the Chief Rabbinate. The populist demands to solve this by Knesset legislative action are largely motivated by politics and basic misunderstanding of the concepts of halachic conversions. Handing the power to convert to local and communal rabbis will, in the long run, cause more problems than it solves.

Rabbi Berel Wein

Jerusalem, Israel