FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 31, 2005/ Adar II 20 5765
Israel’s Supreme Court ruling on non-Orthodox conversions ‘a personal victory’
for ARZA. Landmark ruling removes an obstacle to State recognition of Reform
conversions and has implications on the involvement of Reform Jews in the future
of the Jewish State
The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), the
Zionist arm and voice of the Reform Movement in the United States and an
affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, sent its congratulations today to the
Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) on the news of a landmark decision by
Israel's Supreme Court that removed one of the obstacles to the recognition of
non-Orthodox conversions in the Jewish State. Earlier today, The Israel Supreme
Court ordered the government to recognize “leaping conversions,” non-Orthodox
conversions in which the study process was conducted in Israel but was finalized
overseas. Such individuals will now be considered Jews according to the Law of
Return, a humanitarian policy which awards immediate citizenship and benefits to
Jews wishing to settle in Israel.
The ruling is widely viewed as a major victory for Reform Jewish interests in
Israel, as it removes an obstacle to complete recognition of all denominations
of Judaism in the eyes of the government. The court ruled on two petitions filed
by the Center for Jewish Pluralism and the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
The case had been fought in the Court by lawyers affiliated with IRAC, which is
supported in part by ARZA.