A Message from Rabbi Davidson on Israel’s High Court Ruling
March 3, 2021
As you may have read, on Monday Israel’s High Court issued an important ruling recognizing non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism conducted in Israel as conveying citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return. It is, as I said in this Haaretz article, a wonderful development in the struggle for religious pluralism in Israel, and an affirmation in the Court’s eyes that Israel should be home to all Jews, and all expressions of Jewish life. Now we look to the Knesset to accept the ruling, and not undermine it. And those of us who champion the causes of religious and civil liberties in Israel must continue to speak out against the ultra-Orthodox establishment’s stranglehold upon them, which this ruling does not address.
It comes as no surprise that in the days since the Court’s decision, not only have members of the Knesset raised the specter of legislation to negate it, but extremist Orthodox organizations have published material denigrating Reform Jews, claiming our openness and innovation amount to a “Silent Holocaust” against Jewish life.
The video linked here is one such example of their propaganda. In it you will see our congregation, highlighted not only because we are one of the most recognized Reform synagogues, but because of the powerful actions we have taken and statements we have made in support of an inclusive Judaism in America and around the world including Israel, the spiritual homeland of all Jews. Among those efforts you may recall the wedding we performed several years ago for Israelis who could not marry in Israel because their status as Jews or the gender of the partner they loved prevented it. And you will see that beautiful ceremony, which so many of you attended, excerpted here.
Progress toward social justice is never a straight line. But the High Court’s ruling signals in no uncertain terms that we are having an impact. I hope you are as proud to be a part of the effort as I am.
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson