Saturday, April 02, 2005

Israel now recognizes non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism

Israel's supreme court has ended the Orthodox monopoly on conversion to Judaism, clearing the way for recognition of conversions performed by reform or conservative rabbis in Israel, army radio reported. The verdict, which was reached by 11 judges, could have far-reaching implications for Israel's conversion system. Until now, the country's Orthodox community has had sole responsibility for handing out the certificates of conversion which are recognized by the interior ministry. Under Israel's law of return, all Jewish immigrants are allowed to become Israeli citizens, but conversion to Judaism is a long process obliging candidates to learn the basics of the Jewish religion and how to apply that to their daily lives.

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