A sad incident that came to the attention to the Yad L'Achim anti-assimilation organization reveals the full extent of the recent Supreme Court ruling recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions, bringing the fateful issue closer to the doorstep of the Torah world.
Recently, a religious family from southern Israel, whose daughter was about to get married, approached Yad L'Achim. The parents, who appeared to generally like the groom-to-be, wanted to find out more about his family history before the wedding commenced. It turned out that their daughter's fiancé had been adopted as a child by a South American family. A more in-depth investigation revealed that the man was converted by his adoptive parents at a non-Orthodox conversion institute and registered with the Ministry of the Interior as Jewish.
As their daughter hadn't lost hope of marrying the man, her concerned parents asked Yad L'Achim for help solving the impasse.
The organization confirmed the original findings of its inquiry this week, saying that, "this adds further reason for concern following the Supreme Court's recent ruling. We view it as a serious threat to society at large. Some have added that the controversy and media attention are being exploited by various political parties to increase their election value, so it's imperative to avoid engaging in the matter at hand for the foreseeable future."
On the other hand, Yad L'achim noted with great sorrow that its concerns are completely justified. "For years we have been aware that illegally converted immigrants often marry Israeli Jews by hiding their past. Many of them are, themselves, not aware of the problematic nature of the matter at hand."
The organization emphasized that, "this is a grave matter for all Israeli Jews regardless of their religious association. We encounter a lot of women who've married individuals appearing to be Jewish only to learn years later that their their husband or his mother have undergone inadmissible conversions. The pain and suffering are beyond description, especially when the matter is cleared up only in advanced stages of the relationship. We have witnessed an increasing number of such cases, and the new decision by the Supreme Court will probably add to the existing crisis," it said in a statement.
Yad L'achim further said that "Israel's religious community currently features many different cultural approaches, and makes up for a large percentage of the total population of the country. It also faces changes in the worldviews of the younger generation, so the threat of assimilation effects it as well."