November 11, 2009
British Court Dares to Claim Who Is a Jew
Every once in a while, a story comes along that is so jolting it is scarcely believable. One such story appeared in The New York Times, of all places, this past Sunday, about how the Jews’ Free School in London has been ordered to admit a child whose mother had a non-Orthodox conversion, after the child’s parents sued.
I will not enter here into the ongoing and bitter divide in England between Orthodox and Progressive Jews. It was a battle that I witnessed and worked hard to mend through countless essays and public forums over the 11 years that I lived in the United Kingdom. Less so will I address here the very pressing questions of Jewish status as determined by conversion on the part of Judaism’s three major branches. I am a passionately Orthodox Jew who is equally passionate about Jewish unity. Our divisions must indeed be addressed and healed. But this shocking story in Britain raises something far more pressing that is of equal concern to Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.
To read the full column, visit Rabbi Shmuley’s blog at JewishJournal.com.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is founder of This World: The Values Network. To register for The Jewish Values Conference, taking place in New York on Nov. 17 and 18, visit thisworld.us.