Beit Hillel: Empower Local Rabbis to Process Conversions

ConversionsEmpowering local city Rabbis to process conversions, as proposed by the “Stern Law”, is a very important step that can significantly reduce the risk of assimilation of hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are not Jewish according to Jewish law, but who are in the process of integration into Israeli society.

The proposed change in the Stern Law will make conversion more accessible, will solve bureaucratic obstacles and will facilitate the process. In addition, the change can improve the quality of conversion since it will be more realistic for the local rabbi to accompany the potential converts during the process, thereby reducing the incidence of fraudulent conversions.

Objection to the Stern Law, which stems from a “stricter” halachic position, may lead to a large breach of assimilation and much intermarriage – it should therefore not be accepted, as “any law that begins to be strict, but ends up being lenient, is not a law [Yerushalmi Pesachim 2:1].

We must make sure that the conversion process will be maintained according to the Halachic
standards that have been accepted for generations. Breaking the halachic framework regarding
conversion could lead to a split among the Jewish people.

In a law that is so fundamental and important, it is appropriate that there be collaboration between the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, rabbis engaged in conversion across the country, and Knesset Members in formulating the details of the bill. We believe that the Chief Rabbinate desires to optimize the system and we object to any insult damage to the Chief Rabbinate. Such a law could significantly improve the services of the Chief Rabbinate.

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