We have, for many years now, heard of the various excesses of the Israeli rabbinical courts. Orthodoxy in Israel is not loved by the average Israeli, and in fact, is probably one of the greatest causes of people moving away from Judaism.
How are we to show the good parts of Judaism to a community that has to suffer under things like this:
OKay, so in this case, we simply have a more famous person (the son of Fackenheim) having doubts cast on his conversion. This is just one of perhaps hundreds or even thousands of people affected by the Israeli rabbanut’s hysterical – and by the way, not-halachic- refusal to recognize conversions if the person doens’t live according to the mostly cultural, and not necessarily halachic requirements of the hareidi community. Failed Messiah pointed out this article last month and offered his own translation. In fact, halacha states that once a person is converted, they can’t undo the conversion- the hareidi community has for years been innovating all kinds of halachot (while denying that any such thing is going on) whether rules of marriage or conversion or dress or which side of the street or seat on the bus one may use – and all sorts of other actually social control details, which have nothing to do with God’s demands of us.
Why, oh why haven’t we done anything about this chilul hashem? Politically, it’s pretty clear that the original reason for giving in to ridiculous hareidi demands is not going to happen – the hareidim aren’t going to disappear on their own and be relegated to a foot note of history. To the contrary the more power we give them, the stronger they get. The modern reasons for giving them power are less straightforward. Israeli’s complicated political structure means that many politicians hold their nose and give them what they want to that they can achieve other political ends – this is not an excellent strategy either, as in the long term it undermines civil society and fragments Israel, not to mention the chilul hashem that drives Jews away from Judaism – and for good measure feeds the bile of anti-Semites.
It is interesting to see that someone is actually thinking about maybe possibly doing something. The Rabbinical Assembly, currently having its yearly convention in Jerusalem, will today consider a call to dissolve Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.
According to JTA The Rabbinical Assembly has noted that “the Chief Rabbinate has had an ‘unfortunate impact on Israeli society,” which often associates it with “corruption, favoritism and cronyism.’ and that the rabbinate ‘misrepresents the nature of Judaism to the world at large’.”
Why even the moderate Orthodox haven’t yet joined for calling for this is a mystery, after all, the Hareidim don’t like them either – or for that matter pretty much anyone but a few select members of themselves.After all, the rabbanut has tried to get many Orthodox rabbis excluded from being able to perform conversions, as well. That was as far back as 2006.
But don’t worry, nothing is going to happen. After all, a bunch of Conservative rabbis aren’t really going to have any impact on Israel’s politics as usual. Never mind that not doing something about the growing absurdity of the the Jewish right may ultimately undermine Israel more than any number of other matters After all, what difference does it make to argue about whether or not to have a Jewish state, if the Jews themselves can’t stand what represents Judaism in that state, and turn away from it? I just hope God doesn’t turn away as well because the rest of us didn’t do anything to save Judaism.