Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jewish Agency to decide on Orthodox conversions for aliya


The Interior Ministry has decided that the Jewish Agency will act as the arbitrator for Jewish communities abroad for recognizing Orthodox converts wishing to make aliya, while leaving the Chief Rabbinate as a potential consultant for the “isolated cases” in which questions regarding the converting rabbis arise.

In recent months, there has been a growing phenomenon of aliya requests by Orthodox converts from North America being rejected by the Interior Ministry. According to law, a person who undergoes a conversion in a recognized Jewish community abroad is eligible for aliya.

Despite a High Court decision several years ago, the Interior Ministry didn’t formulate an official policy on how to recognize a Jewish community, and operated on the basis of an internal memo drafted by its legal department in 2008, which determined that the ministry should consult with the head of the relevant religious community in Israel. [...]

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