Thursday, September 25, 2008
Mazuz Rules Conversions Will Stand; Rabbinate cannot stop or delay the marriage of proselytes who can produce proper paperwork
I'm not sure how much pull Mazuz's decision will have with the religious courts, but I think it is a nice gesture, at least, in protecting the sanctity of conversion in Israel.
The Sherman decision will, I'm sure, stand as one of the most derisive decisions in the history of Jewish courts. I don't know what history will say about the decision, but it appears that Mazuz will allow those converted by Druckman's Beit Din to marry into the Jewish people regardless of how they rule--provided the wedding couple can find a rabbi who will perform the service.
The article seems overly positive. I am thinking this is not the last word, and that Mazuz has only opened the wound and poured some salt into it (which is better than letting it fester, but not good enough to healing it, either).
Perhaps Mazuz was waiting to see the make up of the Rabbinic Committee before he made this ruling. That committee swung decidedly toward the religious Zionist and Sephardim and away from the Haredim. This could have been the sign that Mazuz was looking for before attempting to stir up the swarm that is likely to begin forming soon after this article was published.
Stand by and see what happens.
Mazuz: Drukman's conversions stand
AG gives legal opinion in case pertaining to Rabbinical Court's doubting validity of conversions performed by ousted head of Conversions Court; says statement calling for their annulment has no legal standing
Published: 09.25.08, 09:07 / Israel Jewish Scene
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said Wednesday that the High Rabbinical Court's statement suggesting that the conversions preformed by Rabbi Chaim Drukman, former head of the Conversions Court, should be overturned, has no legal or halachic standing.
Thousands of conversions preformed by Rabbi Drukman and Rabbi Chaim Avior have been called into question, after the High Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem decreed they must be disqualified. The controversial statement was made just days before Rabbi Drukman was ousted as chief of the Conversions Court.
Mazuz was aked to weigh in on the matter by the High Court of Justice, following a petition made by a woman whose conversion was disqualified by the Ashdod Rabbinical Court some 15 years after it was decreed.
Addressing the woman's case, Mazuz said that the Ashdod Court's ruling "was lacking in ways undermining its authority in the matter… moreover, the decision was detrimental to the basic laws of natural justice and procedural fairness."
As for the High Rabbinical Court's statement questioning the validity of Rabbi Drukman's conversions, Mazuz noted that "beyond the fact that the High Rabbinical Court should never had been called upon within this case, the statement cannot be considered binding to anyone not directly involved in this specific case.
"Therefore, the ruling made by the first instance (the Ashdod Court) and the one made by the appellate court (the High Rabbinical Court), and any statement made as to the validity of the conversions performed by Rabbi Drukman over the years, do not apply to anyone not privy to the case."
The Rabbinate, added Mazuz, cannot stop or delay the marriage of proselytes, as long as they can produce the proper documentation.
"As long as a conversion decree has not been rescinded by the appropriate religious authority, no rabbi or marriage registrar has the authority to question its validity," he said.
Attorney Susan Weiss of the Center for Women's Justice, who represented the woman in question, said Wednesday that Mazuz's brief was "good news ahead of the New Year," adding it indicated that the legal system was taking a clear stand in favor of both converts and the common good.