Friday, May 29, 2009
Not sure how to feel about the latest Jerusalem Post piece on conversion, "Conversions down by 20 percent in 2009".
First, wow. I didn't realize there were thousands of people converting to Judaism every year in Israel. I wonder if anyone's keeping track of those numbers in the States. I would be interested to hear these statistics.
Second, after my bit stint in Israel at a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) conversion school, I can definitely hear the argument that the system needs to be more transparent without lowering standards. The same can be said of the system here. I know plenty of converts here who are anxiously awaiting their conversion paperwork to show up a year after the actual process was completed.
Third, I wonder if less people were interested in converting this year and does that have to do with the complicated process it is in Israel? It would seem that the article is pointing in this direction.
Honestly, it sounds like no matter how complicated the process, people will be putting themselves through the ringer anyway to convert. But they shouldn't have to be. Can't say it wasn't painful to hear that many prospective converts I know were rethinking or had given up on conversion altogether when the Israeli Rabbinate got involved with the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) to "streamline" the process. I hope that since things eventually settled down, these prospective converts will give the Jewish community a second chance. I think they deserve one.