conversion

Introducing Aleph (Alef?) Millepied-Portman

 First, a shameless celebrity tidbit to boost this blog's Google rankings: the inter-engaged Natalie Portman (fiance is ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied) has reportedly named her new son Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. No consensus yet on whether they're spelling it Aleph or Alef. But if the Portman-Millepied family’s next child is a girl, will she be named Beth?

Wait, You WANT to be Jewish?

05/26/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

In my third year of rabbinical school, I began a student pulpit in Florida. One part of my two-year experience there that will always stay with me involved my work with a prospective convert, Tammy. In the middle of my first year, she approached me to discuss the possibility of conversion to Judaism. She had read quite a bit about Judaism already, and she really felt that the Jewish community was her true home.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

Who Is A Jew Crisis Moves Into Immigration Sphere

Interior Ministry now seen ceding control to Chief Rabbinate of Orthodox converts seeking to make aliyah.

02/11/2011
Israel Correspondent

 Jerusalem — Thomas Dohlan, who converted to Judaism in an Orthodox Canadian beit din, never anticipated that Israel’s Ministry of the Interior might question his Jewishness and block his bid to make aliyah.

But that’s exactly what’s happening, thanks to what appears to be a new policy that gives Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, and not the Interior Ministry, the ultimate authority to decide which Orthodox converts are kosher enough for immigration purposes.

Gabrielle Giffords' Jewishness

01/13/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am a traditional Jew who subscribes to the traditional definition of Jewish identity (you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or if you've converted). By this definition, Gabrielle Giffords is not Jewish. But by other definitions, including her own, she is. Given all she has done and what she has gone through, and given the strong possibility that her assailant attacked her in part because of her self-declared Jewish identity, what is the proper ethical response to all this?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Could Latest Conversion Flap Bring Down Israel’s Government?

The Knesset’s passage today of a preliminary reading of a bill that affirms the legitimacy of conversions performed by rabbis of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) seems benign on the surface.

After all, the IDF rabbis are chosen by the Chief Rabbinate, and the vote was an overwhelming 74-18.

DiCaprio Converting to Judaism?

12/06/2010

(JTA) -- Leonardo DiCaprio is rumored to be considering converting to Judaism for his longtime girlfriend, Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli.

The possible conversion by DiCaprio, a non-practicing Catholic, is a sign that the popular American actor and Refaeli will marry, the Daily Mail reported Sunday.

"Leo’s sudden intense interest in Israel, its culture and religion is the clearest sign yet that he intends to marry Bar," said an anonymous source quoted in the London newspaper.

The Latest News On That Divorce Case From Hell

Joseph Reyes, aka The Divorced Catholic-Jewish-Catholic Dad Who Takes His Daughter To Church (and sends me angry comments periodically) no longer has to worry about going to jail.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Cook County judge found Reyes, an Afghanistan war veteran and law student, not guilty of violating a court order when he took 3-year-old Ela and a television crew to Holy Name Cathedral in January.

The Mikveh Demystified

I'm a guest blogger today at Mayyim Hayyim, the innovative community mikveh in Boston founded (in part) by Anita Diamant, the author of "The Red Tent," "How to Raise a Jewish Child" and many other works of fiction and nonfiction. Here's my post:

Why Israel's Conversion Bill Is Bad For The Jewish People

09/03/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Over the last number of weeks, people with good intentions, and some with not such good intentions, have written and dealt extensively with the proposed Conversion Bill in Israel. I read what they are writing and wonder: do they really understand the Bill?

Following is an explanation, framed in a Question and Answer format. 

What is the problem the bill purports to solve?

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