Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef Shlomi Cohen

The Sephardic Chief Rabbi blasted a High Court decision Thursday allowing Reform and Conservative religious courts to perform conversion ceremonies in public mikvehs, or ritual purification pools.

According to the decision, the "batei din" of the Reform and Conservative movements will be allowed to carry out their conversion ceremonies in the mikvehs of Be'er Sheva. The decision, which was handed down by Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, was given following a motion filed by Reform Jews who complained that they were forced to carry out the conversion ceremonies in inconvenient places like the seashore.

Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef called the decision "sorry" and "scandalous."

"Members of the Reform movement make use of halakha for their needs and undermine the Jewish identity of the State of Israel," he said.

"The court cannot satisfy the hunger of a tiny number of people with one hand," he argued, and with the other, deal a fatal blow to tens of thousands of Jews who want to live a Jewish life according to halakha, and to the preservation of the state's true Jewish identity."

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