It was the end-of-year party at my daughter’s religious preschool in the Israeli city of Modi’in, where we live. Raising cardboard Torahs aloft, around 15 children jumped up and down beneath a tallit held up by some of the dads. In a mixed-gender class of 35, not one of those children was female.
Last year I discovered that my rabbi, Barry Freundel, filmed me naked while I was in the mikveh bathroom preparing to convert (during a “practice dunk”) and while converting to Judaism. After outrage and sorrow, I felt fear. Fear for the integrity of my conversion with his name at the top of my documents.
Martina Ragacova had never planned to become the symbol of a growing uprising against Israel’s draconian conversion laws. All this Czech-born woman wanted was to have her conversion recognized so that she could live and work in Israel like any other Jew.
Susan Ahyed’s long fight for justice, culminating in an Supreme Court victory last week, began with a rather morbid thought.