11th-Hour Conversion Reprieve

Staff Writer
Israel’s chief rabbinate blinked. Or, the Reform and Conservative movements got cold feet and backed off. Those opposing scenarios were put forth this week as the reason the leaders of the two non-Orthodox streams decided to hold off for three months legal action that would give their movements formal recognition in Israel. Instead, they said they would remain at the bargaining table until Jan. 31 to reach agreement on a compromise to the controversial Knesset bill that would codify the status quo, allowing only Orthodox rabbis to officiate at conversions in Israel.

Big Splash In Uganda

Staff Writer
Two weeks after returning from Uganda, where he oversaw the conversion of about 300 members of the Abayudaya community to Judaism, Rabbi Howard Gorin of Rockville, Md., is already planning a trip back. “This is not dunk ‘em and leave ‘em,” he said, referring to the mikveh, the ritual immersion conducted as part of the conversion process.

Chief Rabbi ExtendsOlive Branch – Sort Of

Editor and Publisher
Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau, asserted this week that religious court judges in Israel will look favorably on potential converts.His comments, in an exclusive interview here with The Jewish Week, would seem to bolster proponents of the Neeman Commission, which sought to resolve a religious conflict on conversions by calling for multi-denominational preparatory institutes, culminating in conversions performed according to halacha, or Jewish law.An open question, even as the government plans to launch the institutes this spring, is whether the chief rabbinate will ap

The Conversion Crisis, Again

Editor and Publisher
Are we back to square one in the debate over conversions in Israel? It appears so, but first a brief review of this unfortunate episode. A year ago there was great concern about a proposed bill in the Knesset that would allow only Orthodox rabbis to officiate at conversions in Israel.

Rabbi Lookstein Remembers It Well

Associate Editor

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein is on the phone to another rabbi, trying to get him to help process “some wonderful candidates for conversion” the following Sunday. The Israeli chief rabbinate had pushed for narrower straits for converts to pass through, and the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Lookstein’s group, went along with it.

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