Friday, February 22, 2013

ITIM challenges State monopoly on Orthodox conversions

JPOST   The ITIM religious services and advocacy group has filed a petition with the High Court of Justice demanding that the Interior Ministry recognize Orthodox conversions performed in Israel in non-state Orthodox rabbinical courts.

The state conversion authority, which comes under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, is the only body in the country through which an Orthodox convert can gain legal recognition that he or she is Jewish.

But many Orthodox conversion candidates have in recent years sought to convert in non-state Orthodox rabbinical courts, largely because of bureaucratic obstacles and inefficiencies in the state run system.[...]

The organization cited one case in its petition in which a woman from South America, who wishes to remain anonymous, applied to the state conversion authority to convert in 2007, but was only accepted by its Exceptions Committee to begin the conversion process in 2010.

She had, however, become frustrated with the system by this time and had already approached the haredi Badatz rabbinical court of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz in Bnei Brak, which accepted her for conversion.

She successfully completed her conversion course through Karelitz’s rabbinical court and in March 2011 was registered by a state rabbinical court as Jewish.

The woman subsequently married and had a child, but because she is not registered in the Interior Ministry’s population registry as Jewish, her child is not considered Jewish by the state.

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