Thursday, February 12, 2009

Metrics of Conversion

An Israeli rabbinical court has cast doubt on the validity of the conversion of Yossi Fackenheim, grandson of famed Holocaust survivor and scholar Emil Fackenheim. The younger Fackenheim converted at the age of two, under Orthodox supervision, to Judaism. The judge on the court was hostile to Fackenheim's profession (Shakespeare actor) and repeatedly ignored evidence produced verifying his youthful conversion.

As someone currently dating a non-Jew, this matters to me, a lot. If her conversion isn't under well-documented Orthodox auspices, me and my entire family could be in for all manner of trouble if we ever wanted to move to Israel. Said it before, said it again: an Israel which is not open and welcoming to all Jews -- of every background, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and degree of observance -- is an Israel that is failing in its primary political mission.


Matt said...

If you can verify your Jewishness, it wouldn't be a problem. At least for a few generations. The Law of Return (though I definitely agree with your expansive view) isn't based on Halaka. Anyone married to a Jew or with a single Jewish grandparent is eligible. The issue here, with Fackenheim, is marriage law, which is controlled by power-mad Orthodox Rabbis, pissed that Israel is too secular.

David Schraub said...

So it would be a problem -- I want more out of Israel than getting in the front door. Once I and my family is there, I'd like to be considered, you know, Jewish.