In October 2007, Rabbi Avi Weiss and I convened a group of Modern Orthodox rabbis for a conference in West Palm Beach.

A member of the Institute recently sent me an email. Here are his comments, although I've deleted the name of the rabbi to whom he referred. (Rabbi X isn't his real name.)

Our prayers are with the people of Israel as they once again are compelled to defend themselves against the forces of terror, hatred and destruction.

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate has recently rejected the applications of several Orthodox Jewish converts who have applied to live in Israel. This rejection has been reported widely in the Jewish media, and has generated much discussion--and anger, frustration, disgust. These cases are being appealed, and we hope that these converts will indeed be allowed to settle in Israel as Jews.

The Chief Rabbinate only accepts Orthodox conversions performed under their jurisdiction and/or with their express approval. Orthodox rabbis who refuse to bend to the will of the Chief Rabbinate are excluded from the Chief Rabbinate's "approved" list.

This policy is problematic on many levels.


Rabbi Daniel Rosen comments on Daniel Schwartz’s article, “I Dread Going to Shul”, that appeared in issue 9 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, and which is posted on the Institute’s website,

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that a leader of "Women of the Wall" was arrested at the Kotel in Jerusalem for raising her voice in song and prayer. She, together with a group of hundreds of women, have been attempting to gain the right for women to pray at the Kotel, each according to her preferred style of prayer--with prayer shawls, chanting aloud, reading from the Torah etc.

The arrested woman was kept in prison overnight, and complained that she was treated as though she were a notorious and dangerous criminal.