• Martin van den Bergh

Who is Jewish

The question of Who is Jewish has hit the headlines again in the Jewish world, with the ruling of Israel's supreme court to recognise non-Orthodox conversion. As an Orthodox rabbi I obviously only recognise conversions which have been conducted according to Halacha, Jewish law as outlined in the Shulchan Aruch. Admittedly, even in the Orthodox world there are variations on how to understand this law. There are rabbis who take a lenient view and there are others who are strict in their interpretation of the law. However, where I take issue is the denigration of a convert, which in itself against Jewish law. I also think that there is little consideration of the consequences for the person who comes to change his or her religious identity, which can have consequences for both the person him or herself as well as for their off-spring. Therefore, I think a lot more sensitivity and understanding of the conversion process is needed.

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