The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the most influential Jewish organizations in the US, has released a statement condemning the Israeli Supreme Rabbinical Court's decision not to recognize a conversion officiated by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of New York.
The Court ruled last week that a woman converted in the US by Rabbi Lookstein must undergo another conversion in Israel in order to be recognized as Jewish by the state.
"The Supreme Rabbinical Court's decision is a slap in the face to millions of Jews in the US and throughout the world," said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO National Director of the ADL.
"The vice-grip that the Rabbinate holds on matters of personal status in Israel is a longstanding problem, especially as regards its refusal to recognize the authority of non-Orthodox communities," Greenblatt added, "this hurts Israel's image as the homeland of the Jews."
Carol Nouriel, Director of the ADL's Israel office, stated that "the Court's decision not to recognize the conversion officiated by Rabbi Lookstein, who's been one of the most distinguished Orthodox Rabbis for over five decades, underlines the degree to which the Rabbinate has lost touch with the vast majority of Jews in Israel and outside it.
"We urge Israel's government to take steps to deal with this worsening problem, including steps to limit the jurisdiction of the Rabbinate in matters of personal status," Nouriel added.
The Anti-Defamation League has expressed concerns in the past regarding various issues revolving around the Rabbinate and its rulings questioning the authority of Orthodox Rabbis, claiming that these policies often have the effect of deterring young Jews from adopting a more traditionally Jewish lifestyle.