One of the central principles of the Passover Haggadah is “what begins with disgrace ends with praise.” Anyone knowledgeable in the history of the Knesset discussions of conversion will have observed that this concept is generally reversed, and that what began with good intentions ends in chaos and injury to the delicate relationship among the various Jewish denominations and between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel. We may shortly see a similar situation regarding MK Elazar Stern’s (pictured) conversion bill, which passed the first reading in the Knesset last week.
On February 26, 2014 the Supreme Court ruled to give the State 90 days to find a suitable solution for non-Orthodox converts requiring ritual immersion in public Mikvahs (ritual baths) to complete their conversion process. The petition was filed by the Reform and Conservative movements after non-orthodox rabbis and their converts were barred entry to public Mikvahs in Beersheba.
On January 1, eight years since the submission of a Supreme Court petition by Rabbi Miri Gold, the Reform movement received payment toward the salaries of four Reform rabbis. Rabbi Benjie Gruber of Kibbutz Yahel, who recently visited Australia as the guest of the UIA Progressive Trust, is one of the four rabbis.