Welcoming Jews-by-Choice to the Family?

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel just won’t stop, and it makes our work harder in trying to bring those on the periphery closer to the Jewish state. Recently, the Chief Rabbinate once again reared its ugly head. As reported in Israeli newspapers, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is proposing a bill in the name of “The Eternal Family” that would deny converts to Judaism equal access to the Law of Return. Aliyah to Israel is at an all-time low. Conversion rates are low - yet the chief rabbi is trying to make things worse! Moreover, it is the attitude that underlies his proposal that troubles me even more, an attitude that stresses exclusivity over outreach. Were Rabbi Amar not gaining followers, this wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. But since there are people who are supporting his initiative, it is important for us to speak out against it as being simply unacceptable, immoral, and wholly inconsistent with the values of Judaism as well as the history of Zionism.

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