The Forward has an interesting (not to mention aggravating) article “Slamming the Door on Converts” detailing some of the current infighting between the Ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate of Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America, which in theory is a more middle of the road Orthodox movement.
In a nutshell what seems to be going on is that, the Ultra-Orthodox (power holders) in Israel are no longer willing to accept American Orthodox conversions unless they meet specific guidelines/standards set by the Chief Rabbi of Israel. Apparently these standards are way beyond those typically (or should I say historically?) expected from a “Halachick” conversion process.
At first glance, this was no big deal (at least to me) because, after all I didn’t convert in to an Orthodox community and therefore don’t count anyways. Yup, I’m as non-Jewish, as one can be according to the Orthodox, even including the more left-wing and progressive side. So its not like this infighting really changes anything for me.
Or Does it?
As I kept reading, I began to realize what a bloody mess all of this is and that it does in fact effect me, albeit indirectly. I mean if the Chief Rabbi thinks that RAC is not up to snuff and has effectively bullied them to the point of caving into his demands, what chance to any of us (outside Orthodoxy) have? I sometimes delude myself into thinking that this “who is a Jew” thing can be worked out, if all sides are willing to stretch and compromise. But reading this I can see that I spend, a lot of time living in a state of pure fantasy. Sure maybe it’s not such a big deal here in the NA Diaspora but it’s still hurts to read this kind of stuff.
I believe in Klal Yisrael and I’m more then willing to do my part but right now I’m wondering if that will ever be good enough?
Anyhow if you check out the article, let me know what you think.