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August 12, 2015 7:54 am

Israelis Debate Changes to Jewish Conversion Law

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Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzchak Yosef (left) and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau (right) speak at a rabbinic ordination ceremony of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem on Sept. 4, 2014. Yosef recently issued a call to action for the Sephardic Jewish community to join Ashkenazim in embracing pre-marriage genetic testing. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzchak Yosef (left) and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau (right) speak at a rabbinic ordination ceremony of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem on Sept. 4, 2014. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

New York Times – The newest combatants in Israel’s raging battle over ultra-Orthodox control of Jewish law and institutions are six children, ages 1 to 11, who were converted to Judaism on Monday by Orthodox rabbis operating outside the official system.

The conversions were not expected to be recognized by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate or by the Interior Ministry. But after the Israeli government bowed to pressure last month from the ultra-Orthodox, also called Haredim, and reneged on a plan to ease conversion, a group of respected rabbis has expanded its private conversion court in what analysts see as a significant challenge to the establishment.

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