The last week has seen a major development in the area of conversion in Israel. As has been reported, a new and independent religious court made up of national-religious rabbis has begun to convert minors outside of the framework of the Chief Rabbinate. I am not going to rehash the issues, you can read the articles to which I have linked. In addition to those, I would also recommend Elli Fischer’s article There is No “Conversion Crisis” and Rabbi Yuval Sherlo’s defense (Hebrew) of the new rabbinic courts.
Below are a number of images from newspapers and magazines that illustrate how some are reacting to this recent development.
The first is a political cartoon from Haaretz.
The next is an example of the very hostile and harsh reaction to this initiative from some in the ultra-Orthodox sector, maybe surprising to some since to begin with the Haredi population doesn’t respect the Chief Rabbinate so much. It even got to the point when an ultra-Orthodox radio host told Rabbi David Stav that “you’re not a rabbi.”
The following is a cover from the ultra-Orthodox weekly “Bakehillah” (“In the Community”). The text claims to be a quote from Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef who said about Rabbi Stav:
He has no fear of heaven his friends told me. This man is dangerous to Judaism, dangerous to the Rabbinate, dangerous to the Torah. Suddenly everyone is shouting. They want Rabbi Stav. If he was a true scholar they should hate him. They are choosing a person who is not reasonable. They are establishing an idol in the Temple.”
This is a letter of protest by leading Hardal rabbis (more conservative national religious rabbis) against the private conversion courts that was published in the papers.
While we are on the topic of newspaper ads, below is one from LGBT Jews who were educated in religious institutions calling for more tolerance.
HT for the above images goes to Yair Ettinger, Gidon Shaviv, Anshel Pfeffer, and Rav Tzair.
Update: In NRG/Makor Rishon there is an extensive interview (Hebrew) with Rabbi Eliezer Nachum Rabinowitch in which he addresses many questions about the batei din.