Rabbis Stav and Lookstein
Rabbis Stav and LooksteinNo credit

Israel's Chief Rabbinate will continue to recognize conversions performed by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein despite Wednesday's ruling by the Supreme Rabbinical Court which held such conversions were invalid.

The storm centers around a case involving a female convert from the United States whose conversion was performed privately by Rabbi Lookstein and not vetted by the US Rabbinical Council of America's Geirut Policies and Standards (GPS) conversion courts. which have an agreement with the Israeli Rabbinate on conversion recognition. Converts who do not go through that procedure are scrutinized individually in Israel..

A prominent Manhattan rabbi and former principal of the Ramaz school, Rabbi Lookstein performed the conversion of Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, prior to her marriage to Jared Kushner. However, since that was done under the aegis of GPS, it is not questioned by the Rabbinate in Israel.

On Thursday the Israeli Chief Rabbinate issued a formal statement reaffirming its recognition of Lookstein's conversions.

"The position of the Rabbinate remains the same as was written [in recent letters by the Chief Rabbis], that it recognizes the conversions performed by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein."

In the statement the Chief Rabbinate downplayed Wednesday's ruling, saying it likely was directly solely at the specific conversion in question, and not all conversions performed by Rabbi Lookstein.

"It seems that the courts decision regarding the conversion was only in reference to that specific case brought before the court; the court was not asked to judge generally about the conversion certificates of Rabbi Lookstein."

The convert in question spoke out regarding the controversy surrounding her conversion, which has called into question her Jewishness.

"I feel humiliated, they're basically saying they don't recognize my Jewishness. I love Rabbi Lookstein. He is my rabbi. He brought me into the Jewish world, and I don't want his conversions to be invalidated."