Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"FU" from Israel, with Love

Having read the full text of the Rotem Conversion bill, which includes amendments to two existing laws (the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law, 5740-1980 and the Nationality Law, 5712-1952), I don't really get what all the fuss is about.

After all, it's just formally codifying the casual "F*ck you" that Israel already extends toward the diaspora in general, and converts in particular.

Maybe the problem is that this new formulation halts liberal Jews' current rationalizations in their tracks. From an actual conversation I had with Bad Cohen:

BC: But Israel has been set up at least to accept a non-ortho as a Jew. This changes that fundamentally.

Me: Has it? A non-ortho can't get married in Israel. Their children can't get married in Israel. How are they considered a Jew? Y'all like to think you're accepted there, but you're not. Try making aliyah and trying to get anything related to personal status done as a Jew. Right now, if you move there, you have to accept second-class citizen status in relation to your religous practices.

BC: I think of it like this - marriage is a big issue, but not as big as return. Isreal exists as the refuge of all Jews.

Me: But what's the point of going there if you can't be a full citizen?
Once you accept the linking of religion and state, how can you be upset at preferences given to one sect over another? Do you seriously think any state can exist which sponsors or supports a religion and also allows for pluralism? You're deluding yourselves.

When Israel gets a Consitution, and separates religion and state, I'll consider it as a valid alternative to America. Until then, it might as well be Saudi Arabia.

So, seriously Israel? F*ck you right back.


Anonymous devorah said...

I don't really see the problem. Israel has always defined itself as the Jewish State. If you're Jewish, descendants from a Jewish mother, you're in. If you don't have a Jewish mother, you need to convert in the traditional way.

As for all this "second class" perception, I believe it's just that. Perception little based in reality. Israel is far more sympathetic and accommodating to the secular than the religious.

7/21/2010 3:27 AM  
Anonymous devorah said...

Oh, and this is really an excellent read:


7/21/2010 3:43 AM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

devorah, have you been following ANY of the conversion stuff? The Israeli rabbinate doesn't even recognize conversions performed by Orthodox rabbis, let alone by liberal Jewish ones. We're putting the definition of who is a Jew in the hands of the MOST extreme, most stringent sect, which has power far out of proportion to its representation. We're switching from Hillel to Shammai, and that's a major change.

"If you're Jewish, descendants from a Jewish mother, you're in." Unless your Jewish great-grandmother had a procedural issue with her conversion, that wasn't a problem at the time, only by later standards of geirus (real case). Unless your bet din (or that of your mother or grandmother) is disqualified, ex post facto, by the Rabbinical Courts based on something you had no control over (real case).

Also, I've read that post, and just like the author, you're coming from a position that totally ignores the historical changes in Judaism over the last few hundred years. There was, in fact, no such thing as "Orthodoxy" until AFTER the Reform movement codified itself, 200 years ago. Just a bunch of different, arguing factions with extremely different hashkafot.

7/21/2010 11:58 AM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

"Israel is far more sympathetic and accommodating to the secular than the religious."

This is the other problem. Jews are not just secular and religious, they are religious along a vary wide spectrum. Liberal Jewish congregations are NOT "secular," despite Orthodox myopathy.

7/21/2010 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Devorah, I'm guessing you don't see the problem because you are possibly Orthodox and therefore this bill doesn't inconvenience or change your life. Even with a Jewish mother, proof of Judaism is impossible for Jews who have grown up in countries without synagogues and rabbis.

It is indeed a huge problem and extremely polarizing.

7/21/2010 3:44 PM  
Blogger BBJ said...

This just sucks. Big hug. We survived the exile, so we'll survive going home, but dang, the growing pains!

7/22/2010 1:20 AM  
OpenID ilanadavita said...

Even with a Jewish mother, proof of Judaism is impossible for Jews who have grown up in countries where the archives have been destroyed one way or other.
Do you think that a Jew whose grandparents lived under German rule during WW2 knows where the maternal grandmother's ketubah is?

7/23/2010 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Minnesota Mamaleh said...

you did it! you laid out the issue so *all* can understand! *applause!* and just on a side note, i actually think perception *is* reality.

7/23/2010 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Friar Yid said...

Israel has always defined itself as the Jewish State.

And the problem is that this term has never been clearly or consistently defined.

7/27/2010 3:46 PM  

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