Thursday, July 15, 2010


The Rotem Conversion Law now having had its First Reading in the Knesset is bad -- bad for Israel, bad for Diaspora Jewry. This legislation has provoked JFNA to correspond with the Prime Minister on at least 4 occasions and to meet productively with President Shimon Peres. As I read the correspondence (including the JFNA "Coordinating Council's" letter of July 13) , the JFNA Leadership Briefing on the subject yesterday and Silverman's daily "Updates" to G-d knows who (but not to JFNA Board members), I begin to fear that JFNA may not even understand the Bill's impact.

Sure, Jerry Silverman cites the Bill's ceding to "...the Orthodox-run Chief Rabbinate full control over conversions in Israel and urging that any convert 'accepts the yoke of mitzvot according to halacha." But this legislation is then ignored by JFNA which then focuses on the meetings it has held, the frustration that the Prime Minister hasn't replied to its urgings, etc., etc. READ THE LEGISLATION, JFNA LEADERS, IT IS FAR WORSE THAN THE WHAT YOU HAVE CITED. You've met with Rabbi Uri Regev, CEO of HIDDUSH -- for Freedom of Religion and Equality. Why not reprint Regev's analysis if you can't provide your own?

I have grown impatient with JFNA's failure to focus on the core ills of the legislation while they seem to seek some undefined "dialogue." "Dialogue" about what exactly? This isn't about JFNA after all, as important as JFNA is (or could be). This is about something far more important -- the portent of the impact of the legislation in its present form upon Diaspora Jewry and the previously converted, immigrants and on our families and the families of our fellow Jews. Articulate why, if you are able.

Focus anyone?



Anonymous said...

The lesson for Israel is you can't be a democratic secular Jewish state AND have significant theocratic elements --its like being a little bit pregnant.

As for JFNA when there is not one professional on the whole staff willing and able speak with courage, knowlege and authority on the topic -- well, its like being a little bit dead.

Anonymous said...

Richard, did you see the following: I wonder if you reckon that the senators came to this decision on their own, without the help of JFNA intervention. And, anticipating your response, it matters not if William Daroff took a leadership role. Jerry Silverman is the CEO and he gets the credit (just like Nasatir gets the credit for his staff's great ideas and/or implementation).

You might review Theodore Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" quote. It really does apply to some of your recent posts and your vitriol against Jerry, who's doing the best one can with the situation he's inherited. "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...." Google it for the rest.

RWEX said...

Dear Anon 2,

Thanks for the cite to the JPost article. The strategy in the US -- "educating" Senators and members of Congress -- through meetings created in part at least by JFNA, is a mirror image of what I have heard has been Silverman's meeting with upwards of 40 Knesset members.

"Credit" in Jewish life isn't much different than "credit for business" in law firms -- everyone wants it. What do they say: "Success has many fathers..."?