Op-Ed Contributor – The Diaspora Need Not Apply

Posted on July 16, 2010

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Check out The Diaspora Need Not Apply By ALANA NEWHOUSE Published: July 15, 2010 at nytimes.com

If this bill passes, future historians will inevitably wonder why, at a critical moment in its history, Israel chose to tell 85 percent of the Jewish diaspora that their rabbis weren’t rabbis and their religious practices were a sham, the conversions of their parents and spouses were invalid, their marriages weren’t legal under Jewish law, and their progeny were a tribe of bastards unfit to marry other Jews.

Please email Prime Minister Netanyahu pm_eng@pmo.gov.il to express your feelings about the Rotem bill:

The Honorable Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
Office of the Prime Minister
Jerusalem, Israel

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

We write to request your immediate intervention to prevent passage of the Conversion Bill being brought forward by MK David Rotem.

We are deeply concerned about the proposed grant of authority over conversion matters to the Chief Rabbinate. The advancement of this legislation is offensive to the non-Orthodox streams which reflect 85% of world Jewry.

While we are supportive of efforts to create greater accessibility to conversion courts in Israel and to encourage and facilitate the conversion of those living in Israel as citizens whose halachic standing may be in doubt, the overall impact of the Rotem Bill will set back these efforts. Should this bill be enacted, it will exacerbate a widening gap between Diaspora and Israel communities, a gap we very much want to avoid.

It is imperative that you, as leader of Israel, and as one who cares deeply about the well-being of Klal Yisrael, intervene and urge immediate withdrawal of this bill.

Respectfully,

or use this alternate text:

Mr. Prime Minister,

As an American Jew, I am extremely concerned about legislation advancing through the Knesset that will grant absolute control of the conversion process to the ultra-Orthodox minority. I urge you to continue your stated opposition to allowing this legislation to proceed. The Rotem bill, recently approved by committee, would go so far as to require converts to live an orthodox lifestyle. It is worth noting that this legislation is vociferously opposed by the vast majority of North American Jews. The state of Israel should embrace the diversity of Jewish practice seen around the world rather than cater to a vocal but, misguided, minority.

Sincerely,

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