UJA Federation of Greater Toronto strongly supports the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in its opposition to the introduction and first reading of the proposed conversion bill before the Knesset.
The bill would allow municipal rabbis, approved by the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, to perform conversions and, hopefully, expedite the conversion process. The legislation also specifies that conversions will be recognized only if the convert accepts Torah commandments in accordance with religious law.
“The bill will, unnecessarily, lead to deep divisions among Jews and potentially alienate millions of Jews from Israel. This legislation fails to respect the views of Jews from all denominations, including Conservative and Reform, and does not recognize their legitimate stake in Israeli policy,” said UJA Federation President & CEO Ted Sokolsky, who noted the vigorous stand against the bill taken by Jewish Agency for Israel chairman, Natan Sharansky.
UJA Federation appreciates the bill’s objective of speeding up conversions but is concerned about provisions of the legislation that could, in fact, make conversions even more restrictive.
“At a time when Israel’s right to exist is constantly questioned, the Jewish people cannot afford to be dangerously divided by such legislation,” added Sokolsky. “Only through united collective action on the part of all segments of our community, can we advocate for Israel’s wellbeing and maintain our vibrancy as a Jewish people.”