Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.
James D. Besser
A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.
In a historic decision that will likely widen the secular-religious gulf in the Jewish state, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that people converted in Israel by non-Orthodox rabbis must be officially recognized as Jews by the Israeli government.
The court did not address the question of whether Reform or Conservative conversions were valid according to Jewish religious law. In practical terms the ruling leaves the Orthodox rabbinate in charge of lifecycle events such as weddings and funerals.
It was an opinion from Israel's top judge that American Conservative Jews would have preferred to read in a judicial ruling. But it was enough to put a smile on their faces.
"The lack of civil marriage in Israel is a major violation of human rights," Supreme Court president Aharon Barak told more than 30 members of United Synagogue's Project Reconnect, an organization of former United Synagogue Youth members, during a group visit to Israel last week.