Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Dissolution of Judaism? 

Firstly, I shall apologise for our non-existance over the past half year. Hopefully the blog will flower from now on with more posts. Yay! Now, onto bigger and better things.

It has recently been reported that the Israeli Rabbinate is ceasing to recognise orthodox conversions and gets given outside Israel. The exceptions to this are conversions and gets issued by diaspora Rabbis that have passed the Israeli Rabbinate exams, and those issued by 50 Rabbis that appear on an exemption list. The rationale behind this move is apparantly "to protect Israeli citizens and prevent them from turning to unqualified rabbis."

But I fear that the ramifications of such a move are far greater, and more negative, than what the Rabbinate is aiming to do. The move to not recognise orthodox conversions and gets from the diaspora completely pulls apart the fabric that is Orthodox Judaism. It essentially ignores the centuries old tradition of Rabbinic ordination (that is traditionally passed from teacher to pupil) and assumes that the Israeli Rabbinate exams are far superior to any other Rabbinic ordination anywhere else in the world.

What the Israeli Rabbinate is failing to recognise is that not only will this cause tension between Israeli and Diaspora communities, but it has the power to completely dissolve any relationship that may exist between them and create an irrepairable rift.

This, it would seem, is another symptom of the Israeli trend to extreme conservatism (with small "c"). If something is not done about this travesty now, we may witness, within our own lifetimes, the creation of two incompatible Judaisms: Israeli Judaism and Diaspora Judaism. I think this may be too much for even the staunchest Orthodox Zionists to bear.

The original news article can be found here.

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