Reform Judaism in Israel wins small battle for recognition
For years Reform and Conservative rabbis in Israel have been trying to break the monopoly of the ultra-Orthodox Rabbinic Court, which is the sole authority for Jewish ceremonies like weddings and conversions. That’s an especially big responsiblity in a country where there is no civil marriage, essentially forcing all Jewish Israelis to seek an Orthodox rabbi when they wish to wed — or go abroad.
The more modern, liberal movements have a less strict interpretation and observance of Jewish law than the Orthodox, who make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population.
This week’s ruling came after the Reform movement petitioned the court, seeking state funding for conversions carried out by non-Orthodox movements. Whether it will have any real impact is unclear, since the Jewish state still only recognises Orthodox conversions for legal purposes.