Doctor Science Knows

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blogcomment followup: Israeli conversion bill

More on the Israeli conversion bill. Haaretz reports that Netanyahu says he opposes bill because it will "tear apart the Jewish people. In the comments, "Jay" explained:
The origin of the conversion bill is by the secular Yisrael Beitenu Party consisting of recent Russian immigrants and mostly secular Jews or non Jewish immigrants. They live in Israel and appreciate having a conversion done in a way that will be accepted by all Jews.. Reform Judaism has nothing to offer to them. They live Jewish culture, celebrate Jewish holidays, and Judaismis their way of life. If they want to be Dati (orthodox) they can and if they do not wish to be Orthodox then they can be secular, Conservative or Reform Jews. The vast majority choose to be secular or Orthodox while a minuscule number choose to be "liberal " Jews. Unfortunately the intermarriage rate and assimilation of the non Orthodox Jews is creating a loss of future generations of Jews in the Unite States. We in Israel do not wish to import beliefs that will cause the loss of Israel as a Jewish Democratic State.

I replied:

Why is secular behavior not a problem for Israeli conversions?

Thank you for your explanation, now I'd like even more!

I'm an American Jew, and I'm having a hard time figuring out how the attitude that "Reform and Conservative conversions don't count because you don't live halachically" with the fact that many intended beneficiaries of the bill want to live as secular Jews, less observant than most Reform/Conservative/Reconstructionist Diaspora Jews.

You're talking about 5% of the population, right? This will only work if the conversions are exceptionally streamlined and quick, even slapdash, otherwise the backlog will *never* be cleared. Why are slapdash conversions without subsequent Dati behavior acceptable if they occur in Israel, but Conservative conversions in the Diaspora don't count?

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