Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Sivan 5766 - June 14, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Reform and Conservative Demanding Access to Public Mikvehs for Conversion Purposes

By Betzalel Kahn

Following a High Court petition for not recognizing Reform "conversions," banning quasi-religious ceremonies at the Kosel Maarovi and various other acts running counter to halochoh, the Reform and Conservative movements have found another issue to bring before the High Court as part of their efforts to weaken the foundations of Judaism.

Last week a petition was filed to force the Religious Services Authority, a part of the Prime Minister's Office and formerly the Religious Affairs Ministry, to allow Reform and Conservative "rabbis" to bring non-Jews who come to them to undergo their so-called conversion ceremony to public mikvehs for immersion. According to the petitioners all of the religious councils around the country denied entry to Reform and Conservative rabbis escorting non-Jews taking part in their meaningless "conversion" rituals.

The petition claims that the alleged discrimination by the religious councils is "clearly invalid and unlawful. Preventing conversion candidates from using mikvehs for immersion for the purpose of converting is against the freedom of religion and conscience that are guaranteed to all Israeli citizens."

Private mikvehs also closed their doors to these false converts. Immersion in springs and the sea is not a viable option for them because of the danger of drowning and the cold in the winter.

In response to the petition, the minister in charge of religious affairs, MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas), said, "Conversions of Reform and Conservative organizations are virtual conversions, which is very appropriate for them. This is a vexing petition. The only immersion the Reform are familiar with is baptism. So they can continue walking on water, but they should leave Am Yisroel alone."

The Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur founded by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt"l strongly supports all the relevant authorities for not allowing the Reform and Conservative access to the mikvehs. Mikvo'os are built for religious use and not for meaningless ritual ceremonies. The Conservative and Reform do not really require immersion in a kosher mikveh for their "conversion" ceremony and only want to use Orthodox mikvehs in order to give some appearance of kashrus.

The Vaad also notes that, with the encouragement of gedolei haposkim, for over 20 years it has been on the forefront of those trying to bar access for Conservative and Reform to conduct "conversion" ceremonies in mikvo'os in the US.

The Vaad has Conservative and Reform "conversion" certificates that note prominently that the "conversion" ceremony was performed in an Orthodox mikveh, with the evident intention of giving the appearance that their ceremony was halachically valid.


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