The Rabbinical Court decision not to recognize conversions by the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump continues to ruffle feathers.
In advance of tomorrow's (Wednesday) Supreme Rabbinical Court hearing regarding recognition of the conversions performed by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the Beit Hillel Rabbinical organization is calling for the court to overturn the ruling by the Petah Tikva District Rabbinical Court not to recognize R' Lookstein's conversions.
The decision by the Petah Tikva court became an international story because R' Lookstein was the the Rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump, daughter of US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Beit Hillel is a rabbinical organization dedicated to promoting modern Orthodox Judaism in Israel.
"We are very disappointed with the decision not to recognize the Jewishness of a woman who was converted by one of the most distinguished Orthodox Rabbis in the US, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. R' Lookstein is a Torah scholar who served of decades as the Rabbi of the Jeshurun community of New York, and headed the Ramaz school-one of the most reputable religious-Zionist schools in the Diaspora-for many years," the Beit Hillel statement said. "The Chief Rabbinate only recognizes a very small number of Rabbis and Rabbinical Courts who deal with conversions worldwide, and excludes senior and well-known Rabbis, with no clear definition or rules for why it does so."
"The Torah warns us about the treatment of converts no less than 36 times, and the status of true converts of today is no different from those whose well-being the Torah so wishes to protect. Nullifying a conversion is a very serious matter, not just for the specific convert but for the whole community of converts. Many converts live in the fear that they won't be able to prove their Jewishness when the day comes that they need to. Nullification of one conversion exacerbates this fear among all converts, a community that needs communal and social support even without this particular worry."
Beit Hillel rabbis added a warning of the potential consequences if the Petah Tikva ruling is upheld: "Non-recognition of Rabbi Lookstein's conversions is a terrible mistake that involves disrespect of Torah scholars and desecration of God's name, and can potentially distance many American Orthodox Jews from the state of Israel and the Torah of Israel. We call upon the Chief Rabbinate Committee and the Rabbinical Courts to fix this mistake, to respect community rabbis in the Diaspora, including Rabbi Lookstein, to recognize his conversions, and to actively take steps to establish fair, clear, and transparent rules for the recognition of conversions from outside Israel."