Thursday, July 07, 2005

Decision in the Sagal case

British Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has made a decision in the case of Helen Sagal, whose Israeli Orthodox conversion was questioned after she applied for a place in JFS, a Jewish High School, for her son Guy. The decision was entirely predictable: Rabbi Sacks will not accept her conversion, and Guy, therefore, will be forced to go against his will to a non-Jewish school come September.
I've already made my feelings on this case perfectly clear so I'm not going to repeat them, except to say how sorry I feel for this family, whose identities, lives and future have been rocked to the core so that an insecure Chief Rabbi can suck up to his Beth Din, which doesn't respect him anyway. While the Beth Din might insist that this is a one-off, there are clearly also implications for all converts in this city, and possibly beyond. There are now two classes of Jews in London, born Jews, and converted Jews who can never be entirely sure that their lives will not be turned upside down one day, and their status reversed, by an excessively enthusiastic Beth Din.

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