Agreeing with Rabbi Amar on conversion bill

To the Editor:

Having read the Op-Ed by the chief rabbi and the Conservative/Reform and Jewish Federations of North America responses, I was surprised that I found myself agreeing with Chief Rabbi Amar on several points. I say surprised because I had always seen this type of bill as a potential split in world Jewry. Our world, however, is one of paradoxes. After having lived in Israel for 20 years, I tend to agree with a lot of what he said.

The Conservative movement in the United States does not accept Reform conversions but is asking Israel to recognize them. I also agree that the majority of secular in Israel are secular/Orthodox and feel no need to change which shul they won’t attend.

The other major point is that the measure in effect will make no difference to the status quo in Israel. I understand this to be a loss of face rather than a loss of ground by the Conservative and Reform movements in Israel, but it doesn’t actually change anything.

What scares far more is the adoption of the bill by Yisrael Beiteinu, which is trying to turn it into a patriotic bill. It is not and hopefully will not be seen as one because that will cause a schism.

Jack Steiner
Melbourne, Australia

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