For years we have been covering the political and legal maneuvering of Interior Minister Aryeh Deri who is seeking to block converts to Judaism from Masorti-Conservative and Reform-affiliated emerging Jewish communities across the globe. Among these communities are the Abayudaya of Uganda, Jews who have been practicing Judaism for 100 years and were formally converted in recent decades by rabbis of the global Masorti-Conservative Movement.
The headline is in a news story in Ha’aretz, asserting that the “Position of Interior Ministry, sure to anger advocates of Jewish pluralism worldwide....” This is most certainly true and is a case where supporters of the State of Israel are stung by a clear move against our Jewish practice, our rabbis and our core Jewish values.
In this case, the struggle involves both fundamental commitments to Jewish pluralism and equality of all streams of Judaism, as well as concern over the treatment of Jews by choice who are Jews of Color.
As Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Masorti Movement of Israel notes in the article, “Minister Aryeh Deri has once again proven that he is clueless about the nature, customs and size of the Jewish nation outside his own ultra-Orthodox community… The Ministry of Interior, under his helm, does everything it can to challenge and shame Jews whose conversions or way of life doesn’t suit his own Orthodox-Haredi beliefs.”
While the Jewish Agency for Israel recognizes members of emerging communities like the Abayudaya as eligible for aliyah under the Law of Return, in 2018 the government rejected the first application from an Abayudaya Jew. His case is being appealed.
Check out the full Ha’aretz story for all the details on the cases and great background on the issue.
And watch this space for more as Masorti Israel and their allies fight on for recognition and justice for these Jews wishing to embrace the Jewish state.Support Masorti Israel’s Work on Conversion and Jews of Color