conversion to Judaism

Publications Regarding conversion to Judaism

Articles

Op-ed

Trump, Clinton and the King of Moab

What do the two candidates for the American presidency — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — have in common? Almost nothing at all — except that their children are married to Jews. This op-ed by Yedidia Stern originally appeared in the Jewish Journal. 

Op-ed

One Judaism, Two Nations

The Jewish people have been debating questions of Jewish identity and the definition of "who is a Jew" for thousands of years. While this debate has worn different faces and taken on different shapes at different times, it is a debate that has weighed on all sects and sectors of Jewish society. However, with the formation of the State of Israel, and especially over recent years, there is a palpable feeling that there are two nations caring out separate and different discussions. One lives and operates out of Israel; the other is overseas. This op-ed originally appeared in the Jewish Week.

Op-ed

Israel's New Conversion Laws Give Power to the People

The Supreme Court’s decision to recognize conversions performed by private Orthodox rabbinical courts in Israel is nothing less than a historic drama. The immediate significance is the loss of the Chief Rabbinate’s Orthodox monopoly over conversions, but it’s also a milestone in the privatization of religious services on the road to the Chief Rabbinate’s loss of relevance. Originally published by Haaretz.

Op-ed

An analysis of the proposed comprehensive counter-terrorism bill that was prepared by IDI's Terrorism and Democracy research team and submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

In an op-ed in Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern urges the Israeli government to fend off political pressure, act morally, and assert that anyone who has converted to Judaism in the Israel Defense Forces is a Jew.

The Conversion Crisis: The Chief Rabbi of Israel vs. The Israel Defense Forces?!

The following op-ed by IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern was originally published in Hebrew in the <em>Yedioth Ahronoth</em> daily newspaper on December 8, 2010, just before the Knesset was scheduled to vote on a bill that would recognize the validity of all conversions performed within the context of the service in the Israel Defense Forces—a vote that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed by several days due to competing pressure within the political system. It urges the Israeli government to fend off political pressure, act morally, and assert that anyone who has converted to Judaism in the IDF is a Jew.

Op-ed

Rabbinical vs. Personal Converts to Judaism: What’s the Difference?

These two types of converts display different profiles and patterns of Jewish engagement, and both differ from the 5.1 million individuals who were born Jewish.

Press Release

Proposed Conversion Law

Prof. Yedidia Stern, Vice President of the Israel Democracy Institution said that the proposed conversion law is an important step. The state must take responsibility and resolve the issues that affect so many lives

Tzav Giyur: A Coalition Promoting Conversion in Israel

IDI is part of a new forum established to promote conversion in Israel.

Press Release

IDI President Yohanan Plesner on the Supreme Court Decision to Recognize Private Orthodox Conversions

Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) President Yohanan Plesner today responded to last week's Supreme Court decision that the state must recognize private Orthodox conversions, calling it inevitable, due to the continued failure of the state conversion institutes.

Op-ed

Israel's Battle for Peace Between Religion and State

The relationship between religion and state in Israel is stormy. Lately, it seems the ultra-Orthodox have launched a new offensive on several fronts. This op-ed was originally published by JNS.org.

Op-ed

Zionism Must Reject Ultra-Orthodox View on Conversion

In this op-ed from Haaretz, IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg decries the ultra-Orthodox refusal to alter standards for conversion to Judaism in recognition of the fact that for many Israelis, Jewish identity is not only an expression of religious observance but also of identification with Zionism and Jewish culture. He warns that the ultra-Orthodox approach is causing serious injustice to thousands of people who wish to live as Jews and raise Jewish children in Israel.

Op-ed

Who Really Cares about Converts?

On July 12, 2010, the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee approved a controversial draft bill on conversion reform. Presented as an effort to make conversion more accessible to hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish according to state and religious law, the proposed legislation sparked an outcry both in Israel and the Diaspora. In this article, IDI Researcher Netanel Fisher exposes the dangerous linkage between conversion and the status of Judaism's non-Orthodox movements and assesses the likelihood of the bill achieving its goals.

Op-ed

From Ruth to Natasha

In this article, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern explains the current conversion crisis in Israel, reviews the evolution of attitudes towards conversion in halakhic literature over the ages, and concludes with a proposal that is compatible with Jewish law while responding to pressing contemporary needs.

Op-ed

Conversion – Implications for Jewish Culture and Peoplehood

IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg argues that it is time to modify the requirements for those who wish to join the Jewish People, with the State overriding the religious establishment through legislation in order to resolve this issue, if necessary.

Op-ed

Conversion in Israel: From Bethlehem to Chelm to Sodom

IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern responds to the State Comptroller's findings on conversion in Israel and calls for a solution that will enable Israelis from the former Soviet Union to join the ranks of the Jewish people.

Article

It is up to chief rabbis to preserve us as one people

On the practical side, religious conversion hasn’t ‘delivered the goods’ so far. Although it has been officially declared a national mission, less than 10 percent of non-Jewish immigrants and their offspring have completed the process. As a result, one in 20 non-Arab Israelis isn’t recognized as a Jew, despite having made aliyah under the Law of Return.

Op-ed

What remains of the religious status quo?

Instead of Judaism being what unites Jews in Israel with Jews around the world, our religion has become the main source of conflict.

Op-ed

No to the Separation of Religion and State in Israel

Should the American model of separation of church and state be applied to Israel? In an article in <em>The Jewish Week</em>, IDI's Yair Sheleg argues that Israel needs a unique model.