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July 14, 2016 1:17 pm

Conversion by Ivanka Trump’s Rabbi Ruled Invalid in Israel

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Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Photo: Alchetron.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Photo: Alchetron.

JNS.org – Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court has rejected a conversion made by prominent American Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, reaffirming a lower court ruling. Lookstein also converted Ivanka Trump, the daughter of presumptive US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, before her marriage to Jared Kushner.

The case in question involved an American woman named Nicole, 31, who appealed an earlier decision not to recognize her conversion to Judaism in Israel. Like Ivanka Trump, Nicole went through an Orthodox conversion in New York through Lookstein. The court denied her appeal despite a letter in support of Lookstein by Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, and also despite the fact that Nicole agreed to a compromise through which she would undergo an expedited conversion, known as “giyur l’chumra,” so that she and her Jewish fiancee could get married.

“This is a sad day for the converts and this is a sad day for the relations between the State of Israel and the United States Jewry….Our struggle is not over and we intend to continue the fight until the Chief Rabbinate will recognize the United States rabbis and take a more welcoming approach to their converts,” said Rabbi Dr. Seth Farber, head of the ITIM organization, which represented Nicole and Lookstein during the case.

If the ruling sets a legal president, it is likely that Ivanka Trump’s conversion will also not be recognized in Israel.

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  • Andrew

    When will these rabbis stop their power hungry anti-religious ways. They were converted by a recognized rabbi, it appears they want less Jews, not more. Be more welcoming, not hateful to people who want to join the tribe.

  • Rob

    Stop reporting on matters you don’t understand. Halachic conversions are not performed by Rabbis. They are performed by Batei Din after a Rabbi sponsors/teaches the person what they need to know and do for the appearance(s) before the Beis Din. R. Lookstein’s sponsored conversions done by the BDA (Beit Din of America) that comply with RCA’s GPS policy agreement with Israeli Chief Rabbinate are all valid in Israel automatically. Conversion sponsored by any Rabbi, including R. Lookstein, that are done outside the GPS protocol are not automatically accepted by the ICR and need to be individually investigated by the ICR and rabbinic courts in Israel. Ivanka Trump’s conversion was done via GPS policy, so her conversion is automatically accepted by the Israeli Rabbinate. The conversion in the recent news was not done by GPS and thus has to be investigated. An investigation would not be completed until after the scheduled wedding date of the couple in question, so the Rabbinic court in the matter suggested a giur l’chumra, (conversion for stringency) to expedite the recognition of her Jewish status and thus allow the wedding to take place on the date planned.

    • Algemeiner MUST issue a correction, based one your good clarification. If such inflammatory and irresponsible headlines appear in “our” press, klal v’homer, will the dangerous inaccuracy proliferate elsewhere.

      Tisku l’mitzvah (of removing the stumbling block of the blind)

  • Yaakov

    Identifying people as having converted to Judaism is not proper.

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