Genuine but not Genuine

Over recent days my blog has become a source of self therapy to myself. In fact one of the reasons I first started my blog was to try to help myself form going insane with ‘life’ here in Israel. Apart from the usual grief which you can find in any country, Israel provides the unique opportunity of Jewish grief. The unique opportunity of Jewish grief all the more so intense when someone has the added bonus of being a convert to Judaism too!!

Take for example this classic scenario: You spend over 4000 shekels to get your Israeli driving license, which includes failing the driving test twice after driving on a UK license in Israel 12 months prior to taking the driving test. My UK license held  for 33 years BTW. Then the challenge of a theory test, a third driving test and WALLA you have an Israeli driving licence just like any other Israeli!

Ger copy

The famous olim tatoo.

………Well not really! You are in fact not like any other Israeli or other immigrant who was lucky enough to pass first or second time. In the Israel system you see driving instructors who are hand in glove with examiners and you know that something stinks. Now post 7 years later something really stinks. After one renewal of my licence, after three further years of driving and a further 4 years I should be OK with my license until 2024, it says so on the license.

Then……… a letter which says that since you are a new driver[?], you need to take 2 days off work, pay a fee of 240 shekels and attend a refresher course. If you do not take and pass the refresher course your license will be revoked in 60 days time! Worst still the course and test is in hebrew!!

So there you have it, a license which is not a genuine license………… ripped off once again but it gets worse…..

The high court in Dec 2014 ruled that a rabbinical court was within its rights to retroactively annul a conversion because the convert in question had deceived the court when she said she undertook to observe Jewish law. Deputy President of the Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor, with Justices Esther Hayut and Neal Hendel ruled on a case concerning a woman born in Romania to a Christian family who converted in Israel in the state conversion system. Two years later, the rabbinical court annulled her conversion because, according to the court, doubts had been raised as to the sincerity of the convert when she converted*.

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No one has the right to judge Ivanka’s Jewishness or religiosity as a convert, just as no one has the right to judge—or question, or pry into—mine. Yet it is hard for me to believe anyone in her well-heeled congregation is giving her a hard time about this. Why, then, am I and the majority of converts I know, constantly the subject of such scrutiny? For any other female convert, emulating the types of posts Ivanka puts on Instagram would be unthinkable.

The major flaw in the decision is that it says that someones behavior following a conversion is grounds for determining ones sincerity, but it does not give a timeline for evaluating behavior. In theory, a court could undermine a conversion years later.

Sounds like keeping hold of your hard earned conversion to Judaism is a bit like Israeli driving licenses does it not?

But not for Ivanka apparently!


* Not the majority of opinion with respect to the permanency of a convert’s conversion.


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