Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Life

Poof, You’re Not Jewish Anymore

Jewschool’s Josh Frankel is up in arms — and with good reason:

Just when you thought the conversion mess couldn’t get any worse – the good folk in Israel drop another bomb. The Jerusalem Post reports that the High Rabbinical Court has ruled to invalidate, retroactively, all of the conversions performed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman since 1999.

Get this straight, Rabbi Chaim Druckman isn’t a reform, conservative, or heck even some strange liberal YCT guy. Rabbi Chaim Druckman is a major Rosh Yeshiva, a recognized halakhic scholar, and at times has been in charge of the national religious education system in Israel. His only offense apparently – he wears a knitted yarmulke.

This isn’t a little thing. Rabbi Druckman isn’t just a private rabbi in a little synagogue. He was the head of the official, government conversion authority. This means that thousands of people’s conversions have been effectively invalidated. Also, this isn’t just a question of whether your local synagogue will let you enroll your kids in day school. This means that thousands of people are no longer Jewish, their kids are no longer Jewish, they are no longer married, they can not get married, they can no longer be buried in ordinary cemetaries, and can no longer go to religious schools. They have been placed as second class citizens. All apparently because one woman, more than fifteen years after she converted was no longer shomeret shabbat – according to the ideals of this rabbinic court.

Here’s The Jerusalem Post’s article on the ruling.

UPDATE: Writing in Ha’aretz in response to this ruling, Asher Maoz opens fire. Meanwhile, The Jerusalem Post reports, Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, is trying to reassure converts, and the Knesset is planning to take up the issue.

UPDATE II: The Rabbinical Council of America is lending its voice to the chorus of critics of the rabbinic court’s opinion, JTA reports.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.