The Jewish Agency's Institute for Jewish Studies, which
employs teachers from heretical movements, has recently
offered non-Jewish Russian immigrants the opportunity to
"enrich their knowledge of Judaism and Jewish culture."
"Those of its graduates who are interested in conversion
will be referred to the special conversion courts without
the need for undergoing additional procedures," according to
the brochure published by the Institute.
The implication is that the special conversion courts are
supposed to accept every conversion candidate without
investigating actual knowledge and the true motives.
The special conversion court system has denied these
Recently, the Institute circulated a brochure in Hebrew and
Russian, for non-Jews who seek to undergo "accelerated
conversions." The brochures, which are distributed in
community centers throughout the country, are part of a plan
to open 100 conversion ulpans. Their goal is to "convert"
20,000 non-Jews a year.
In the brochure, the heads of the Institute offer classes in
Judaism and Jewish culture for students of all ages, during
their free time, and in their mother tongue. The brochure
says: "The curriculum offers both in-depth study of Jewish
heritage and culture, as well as popular classes which
appeal to all types of students."
But the brochure also admits that the course of study
includes information about heretical movements.
"The Institute is unique in that it offers lectures with
varied and pluralistic approaches, while at the same time
presenting a unified and joint program," the brochure
states. "This program presents Judaism with all of its many
interpretations and conceptions, highlighting Jewish
creativity throughout all times, as well as our contemporary
streams. All this is offered within the framework of
classes, deliberations and symposiums."
Asher Raviv, the director of the special conversion courts,
told Yated Ne'eman that the information presented in
the brochure of the joint institute of the Jewish Agency is
incorrect. However, he refused to issue a written statement
protesting what he called the false promises in the
"There is no collaboration between the Institute and the
court. They also don't refer conversion candidates to us.
However, the moment someone has graduated the ulpan,
dayanim can accept him according to the guidelines of
the Rabbinate. These dayanim then judge each case
separately, and are not obligated to convert him."
The Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav
Chaim Kreiswirth of Antwerp commented, "It is well known
that the graduates of the joint institute have already
undergone conversions in the special court of Rabbi Chaim
Druckman and Rabbi Avior in Or Etzion.
"A year ago the two publicized that they had decided to
adopt the joint ulpanim. The `converts' even received
conversion certificates from the administration of the
courts, signed by Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan."
"There is no doubt that there is full collaboration between
some of the special conversion courts and the joint
institutes," the Vaad went on to say. "The denial of the
director of the special conversion courts, Asher Raviv, is
only a declaration. However, to our dismay, this declaration
is not compatible with the facts and reality, which are
totally different," the Vaad's spokesman said.
"If the conversion court system stands behind their
statements that there is no special cooperation with the
joint conversion institute, and that the graduates'
application will not automatically be accepted by the
conversion courts, then it is their obligation to publicly
clarify this matter and not to allow the joint conversion
institutes to mislead the Russian olim with false hopes."