THE ZIONIST majority, both here and in the Diaspora, must demand that authority for conversion be transferred from stringent, haredi rabbis to moderate rabbis willing to implement a halacha that embraces converts. A lenient policy is justified today because Jewish identity is guaranteed here; Jews are the vast majority and the public domain is Jewish, eliminating concern that too many converts might endanger it. We are not a minority anymore, and halachic policy should reflect this crucial change. Moreover, potential converts are sociologically Jews even before converting. Already connected to Jewish life, they serve in the army, speak Hebrew and identify with the words of “Hatikva.” Lastly, the vast majority of candidates for conversion are “from the seed of Israel”; that is, they are of Jewish descent, even if their mothers are not Jewish. These considerations should motivate the adoption of a more open and welcoming conversion policy.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Yedidya Stern on a Conversion Law
Law professor Yedidya Stern summarizes the issues of a conversion law. America's non-orthodox Jews probably won't be able to live with his proposal, but it's as good as any other I've heard.