Israeli Rabbis Challenge Clergyman Who Converted Trump's Daughter to Judaism

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who oversaw Trump's adoption of Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner, has had a more recent conversion overruled, The New York Times writes.

Jared Kushner with Ivanka Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions at Trump Organization LLC, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, April 25, 2015.
Bloomberg

A local Israeli rabbinical authority has rejected a recent conversion performed by the same Orthodox rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump's entry into the Jewish faith some years ago, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Rabbis in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva have denied marriage rites to another client of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who oversaw Trump's adoption of Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner, the newspaper wrote.

Lookstein, 84, a respected New York rabbi, has led Manhattan's Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun for 58 years, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Israel's Bar-Ilan University.

The report does not say exactly why the Petah Tikva rabbis refused to recognize Lookstein's more recent conversion, particularly after the higher ranking Israeli chief rabbinate is quoted as having recognized the very same conversion certificate. 

It is not uncommon for Israel's Orthodox rabbis to dispute the credentials of peers abroad, often creating difficulties for immigrants seeking to wed in the Jewish state.

But it was unclear whether this particular case would have any bearing on Trump, who would be unlikely to face further questions about her Jewishness unless she immigrates to Israel, where the law would entitle her to automatic citizenship, as a Jew.  

Lookstein said the case of the unnamed woman whose conversion has been rejected was a first for him and that  “the irony is that this woman is very meticulous about her religious observance.”

“She is as Jewish as I am, and as Jewish as the rabbis signed on the certificate, except in the eyes of the Petah Tikva rabbinate,” Lookstein said, adding that  he expected that the woman would ultimately win her appeal and be able to marry in Israel.