Rabbis Urge Jews to Use Chanuka to Protest Israel’s Conversion Law

Four Jewish organizations are planning to make use of the Chanuka holiday which begins sundown Thursday to enlighten world Jewry on what they term the dangers of Israel conversion law. Referring to the attempt by the Syrian Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes in ancient Judea to force the Jews to renounce the Torah, the leaders of three Orthodox organizations warned that “This decree of assimilation looms today on our Jewish brethren wherever they may be, due to the law enacted In Israel registering non-Jewish immigrants as Jews.”

The statement–issued by Rabbi Abraham Gross. president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America; Rabbi David Hollander, president of the Metropolitan Board of Rabbis, and Rabbi Abraham Hecht, president of the Rabbinical Council of the Syrian and Near Eastern Jewish Community in America–called on “all our rabbis to explain the parallel of Chanuka with the conversion law and to appeal to their members to voice vigorous protests.”

The three leaders asked Orthodox rabbis to “call on the Israeli government from their synagogue pulpits to amend the law immediately so that it states clearly that only conversions that are performed in accordance with halacha (Jewish law) are valid and thereby help American Jewry in their fight against assimilation.”

The Committee for Jewish Survival has asked all Jews “concerned with the future of the Jewish people” to cable Israeli Premier Golda Meir demanding that her country’s conversion law be changed. “We must commemorate the holiday of Chanuka not only by reminding and celebrating what has happened In the past, but also by looking In the present end future,” said Yosef Wilenkin, Committee general secretary. “If this law is not amended we will soon be faced with the dilemma of not knowing who is a Jew and who is not.”

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