Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Historic Israeli Supreme Court Decision on Conversion

Today's watershed decision in Israel could pave the way for greater pluralism in the Jewish State. It impacts both Reform and Conservative institutions.

See the Jerusalem Post report here

A Dispatch from the Israel Religious Action Center

May 19, 2009

Dear Friends of IRAC,

Today is a very important day for Progressive Judaism and the cause of Jewish pluralism in Israel. IRAC just won a precedent setting case in the Israeli Supreme Court which says that the State has to provide equal funding for Reform and Conservative conversion classes.

The case itself may seem inconsequential but the implications are huge. This is the first time that the Court has declared that government funding must be provided to non-Orthodox Jewish religious services in Israel. The verdict was amazing, going well beyond simply requesting equal funding, and addressing the core issue of religious freedom in Israel. The three judge panel, including Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, found the State's practice of favoring only one Jewish stream discriminatory and contradictory to the their responsibility to ensure freedom of religion, ruling "The duty of the State to pluralism is not only a passive duty, but an active one as well."

They also sited their previous ruling (Naamat and IRAC in 2002) that "Jews in Israel cannot be seen as only one religious sect." It is a hot day in Israel but we all have goose-bumps.

L'Shalom, Anat Hoffman

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