It would be extraordinarily divisive to give the ultra orthodox rabbinate control over who is actually Jewish. My great grandparents came to America from Germany and Poland in the 1880’s. They were orthodox, but over time the family drifted to conservatism or worse (reform, reconstructionist, you name it). I remember my grandfather saying that he slept next to my grandmother, so why couldn’t he sit next to her when he prayed: conservative Judaism was his only way forward. I married a Jewish woman with a similar background. So, being four generations distant from the orthodox rabbinate, who is to say my daughter is Jewish? What proof does she have? The word of the reconstructionist rabbi where she went to Sunday School? All the marriages and burials on my wife’s side were conducted by the conservative rabbinate (including our own marriage), so that documentation is suspect. Most of my own documentation is similarly in doubt. I treasure my great grandfather’s siddur and hagaddah brought over from the other side, the oldest physical remnant of my family’s origins. Does that matter? We lost family on both sides in the holocaust. Does that count? I would not be willing to go through an orthodox conversion and I am sure that my daughter would not be willing to do so as well. Is the objective of this legislation to drive people away from Judaism? This is a sad state of affairs.
UN: Satellite images show Temple of Bel in Syria 'destroyed' (AP)
from the article: U.S. Jewish leaders: Jewish pluralism is in crisis