Israeli Conversion Crisis

JBC News of Interest – 1/9/11

Several media outlets have reported that Rabbi Alysa Stanton, the first African-American female rabbi, has not had her contract renewed for her first pulpit at a Reform congregation in Greenville, North Carolina.  Rabbi Stanton made headlines when she was the first African-American woman ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College, and indeed, the first in America (the world?).  Haaretz reported on the story here, and Time magazine did a story on Rabbi Stanton shortly after her ordination … [Read more…]

Audio: Benjamin Ish-Shalo on the Israeli conversion crisis

This evening Tamara and I attended an excellent lecture on the Israeli conversion crisis by Benjamin Ish-Shalo of Beit Morasha. I had no idea who this man was until this evening. I suppose I could have Googled him but I didn’t and to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t because this way I was able to walk into the room with few preconceptions and an open mind. This was a small invitation only event held in someone’s home and I would say there were about 30 people in attendance. The majority … [Read more…]

A Convert Laments the Rotem Bill

An early morning on what will surely become another sweltering day in Los Angeles … the haze beginning to clear. Erev Tisha B’Av, 5770 … the eve of destruction … . Sitting in my study, just off the phone from another not infrequent conversation with an Israeli friend, my usual black kippah srugah with its blue-and-white-patterned border slightly askew atop my thinning hair, I probe our texts pondering the events of the last week.  Thirty-plus years of my own Jewish life flash … [Read more…]

RabbiPod On The Israeli Conversion Crisis

Last week Rabbi Eli Garfinkel of Temple Beth El (a Conservative Synagogue in Somerset, NJ) recorded an interesting Podcast. In short the good Rabbi shares some of his concerns regarding the recent conversion fiasco in Israel. Here is a brief summary of the episode from the RabbiPod site. In this episode of RabbiPod, I argue that Israel needs to have a law permiting civil marriage, and that the Israeli government should not have the power to decide who and who is not a Jew. That power should … [Read more…]