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

09/02/2010 - 20:00
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?

On Rotem Conversion Bill, Focus Should Be On Israel

Conversions of Russians trump concern over Chief Rabbinate hegemony.
08/03/2010 - 20:00
Editor And Publisher

 I’m having second — and third — thoughts about the wisdom of rejecting outright the controversial conversion bill in Israel.

Before you get too worked up about that statement, please hear me out.

Gary Rosenblatt

Even Orthodox Rabbis Here Bemoan (Privately) The Conversion Controversy

Amid all the furor from opponents of the proposed Knesset conversion bill that would turn the de facto Orthodox control into law, it’s instructive to note who isn’t speaking out, and why.

And one can appreciate how this controversy underscores the enormous gap in understanding between Jewish leaders here and in Israel.

Fresh Anger From Diaspora Over Bill On Conversions

Politics trumps unity as leaders here, Sharansky express sense of betrayal.
07/13/2010 - 20:00
Editor And Publisher

 It’s hard not to be cynical about the latest conversion controversy in Jerusalem that threatens to further divide an already fragmented Jewish People for no reason but one: internal Israeli politics.

Gary Rosenblatt

Israel: Overhaul The Conversion Process

07/12/2010 - 20:00

The leadership of organized Jewry, from the Jewish Federations of North America to the Jewish Agency for Israel, is expressing frustration, anger and a sense of betrayal — understandably — with the Netanyahu government for allowing a controversial conversion bill to go forward in the Knesset, even though it would alienate the vast majority of diaspora Jewry.

Conversion Institutes Get The Go-Ahead

04/09/1998 - 20:00
Editor & Publisher
Despite criticism from the right and the left, a special Israeli cabinet subcommittee adopted the recommendations of the Neeman Commission this week and authorized the first of several planned conversion institutes, to open in Beersheva this spring. Professor Binyamin Ish-Shalom, a respected educator and scholar, was named to head the institute. The board of directors will have seven members — five Orthodox, one Conservative and one Reform.

Conversion Controversy

09/26/2002 - 20:00
Staff Writer
In a sign of how divisive the “Who is a Jew” question can become, the first non-Orthodox conversions in nearly 40 years took place between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur in the Czech Republic and Poland in the face of fierce Orthodox opposition. Because the Orthodox in both countries would not permit the use of their ritual baths, the 38 conversions had to be moved to outlying cities.

Still Licking Their Wounds

02/19/1998 - 19:00
Staff Writer
Jerusalem — Have the liberal streams of Judaism been left at the altar by the State of Israel, or can they forge an historic union in their quest for recognition? That’s the issue at the center of the Conservative movement’s annual Rabbinical Assembly convention, attended by some 350 American rabbis here. Some rabbis say they should support the Neeman Commission’s proposal to create conversion institutes, to be taught by Orthodox, Conservative and Reform instructors — with or without the approval of the Orthodox chief rabbinate.

Gov’t To Move Ahead On Conversions

02/12/1998 - 19:00
Staff Writer
Jerusalem — Legitimacy, long sought here by the Reform and Conservative rabbinate, was denied again this week by the Orthodox chief rabbinate, but advanced by the state — leaving the door ajar for a resolution to the religious wars. Despite the chief rabbinate’s strong disapproval of a key element of the Neeman Committee proposal on conversion, two-thirds of the Knesset is expected to endorse the plan this week.
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