Conversion to Judaism: Why Doesn't Anyone Care?

The Knesset

By invitation only

As the 20th Knesset began its work, MK Dr. Aliza Lavie, in cooperation with IDI and ITIM – Resources and Advocacy for Jewish Life, called an urgent meeting on conversion to Judaism that focused on the conversion of children and youth. This event, which took place at the Knesset, set out today's challenges, presented data and first person accounts, and proposed plans for action. Participants included professionals from the field, leading rabbis, representatives of the Chief Rabbinate, and representatives of civil society organizations.

This event took place against the backdrop of the coalition agreements that threaten to erase the conversion reform that was passed by the previous government, as well as recent changes in the committee to appoint rabbinical court judges that thwart efforts to ease the plight of candidates for conversion in their dealings with the religious establishment.

In the words of MK Lavie: "We must join hands, take a hard look at the worrying trends, and find solutions for the harsh reality. There is another way. Previous generations knew that. Ever since our return to Israel there are those who lost their Jewish compassion."

A summary of the proposal for reform of the state conversion system that was submitted by IDI and ITIM to the 19th Knesset, as it prepared its legislation for conversion reform, can be found here.


Key Speakers

  • MK Dr. Aliza Lavie, Yesh Atid
  • Prof. Yedidia Stern, Vice President of Research, Israel Democracy Institute
  • Rabbi Dr. Shaul (Seth) Farber, Founder and Director of ITIM – Resources and Advocacy for Jewish Life

Additional Speakers

  • Rabbi Chaim Iram, Rabbinical Conversion Court Judge and Director of the Institute for Jewish Studies
  • Attorney Sarah Weinberg, Department of Public and Legal Policy, ITIM
  • Rabbi Israel Rosen, Head of the Tzomet Institute, Founder of the Conversion Administration, and a conversion judge


  • MK Rabbi Shay Piron, Yesh Atid
  • MK Mickey Levy, Yesh Atid
  • Rabbi Dov Lipman, Former MK, Director of Government and International Affairs, the Lone Soldiers Center in Memory of Michael Levin and the Families of Lone Soldiers organization
  • Rabbi Gregory Kotler, Secretary of the Conversion Court, Reform Movement
  • Dr. Susan Weiss, Attorney and Director of the Center for Women's Justice
  • Adv.Tziporet Schimmel, Legal Advisor, Emunah