Conversion and Support of Israel

I’m incensed over the Rotem bill currently on the floor of the Knesset. I fully endorse the statement of the United Jewish Federations that this bill, which would give full control over conversions in Israel to the rabbinate, could drive a deep wedge between Israel and Diaspora Jews. What right do the Orthodox rabbis have to control such a global and sensitive issue in a country that belongs to all streams of Judaism?

Conversion: Bill of Rights

A convert in Washington drew up a “bill of rights for Jewish converts”. In this piece, she outlines ten issues which face conversion candidates or those in the process, claiming they are afraid of the rabbis, feel victimized, threatened and judged. I personally think she’s right on and have heard similar claims from women in the process. Are you involved in conversion and what is your opinion on what she claims?

Conversion: Children

We are somewhat confused and flustered. We adopted our two beautiful sons from Russia when each one was under a year old, and have raised them as Jews ever since. We were under the impression that if a child is adopted and raised by Jews then the children are considered Jewish. However, during a recent visit to Israel, our cousins told us that the children aren’t considered technically Jewish until they convert. This was difficult for us to swallow and want to find out if it’s true. Also, how is it possible to convert small children if they don’t have the maturity and understanding to accept upon themselves whatever being Jewish entails?

Conversion: Why?

Recently a non-Jewish friend asked me why someone would want to convert to Judaism. Although I could think of a lot of reasons, I’m not sure which one was the best. What would your answer be?