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The document above caught a friend’s eye on an Orthodox Jewish website. It is a rabbinical court ruling six days ago in Jerusalem — apparently affirming that a Jewish woman who had intercourse with a non-Jew is fit again to be married to a Jew. It’s impossible to even begin to imagine of a similar ruling in Washington or New York.

Of course, there is no such thing as civil marriage in Israel: marriage and divorce for Jews goes through these courts. In a rabbinical court, elderly long bearded rabbis sit under the seal of the State of Israel and act with the authority of the State. Their rulings are enforced by the police. And these male judges surely lack higher education.

Here’s a translation of the document:

The State of Israel
The Regional Rabbinical Court – Jerusalem
With God’s Help
Rabbi Eliahu Aberjil – Chief Rabbinical Judge

Ruling
After hearing the plaintiff and hearing testimony that the plaintiff currently observes the Torah and commandments and she desires to establish a kosher home, the Rabbinical Court affirms the plaintiff’s return to Judaism, and she is kosher to marry under Jewish law with the exception of kohanim (descendants of priests)

11/11/15

My friend notes that in the comments section at the Orthodox site, there is a discussion about why priests are off limits. One comment replies: “because once a Jewish woman has been with a non-Jew she is considered to be a prostitute and unfit for a priest.” (About 5 percent of Jews are said to be kohanim.)

The power of such courts over Jews’ private lives is often criticized by liberal Zionists who want Israel to become a secular state; but anyone who talks about the influence of Sharia law in Muslim societies ought to be concerned with these courts, too.

And there is a lot of politics here. The reason Israel panders to the ultra-Orthodox is because they produce large families that keeps the Jewish population of Israel big enough to make the fiction of being “a democracy” plausible to the outside world. Just as David Ben-Gurion pandered to the Orthodox for related reasons when the state was founded.

But the ruling of this so-called court illustrates how foreign Israel should be to American Jews.

 

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38 Responses

  1. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    November 16, 2015, 1:03 pm

    Without a formally adopted written constitution, the implication is that Israeli civil authorities exist by virtue of a (not-necessarily-public) grant of right from the high priests, which would make them revocable by the religious authorities, also. I also understand that the Chief Priests, one for the Sephardim, one for the Ashkenazim, are elected, and one imagines that only the Sephardim and Ashkenazim are entitled to vote? So religious law defines who is a citizen, who is a Jew, for what purposes, and who votes.

    I understand that the US constitution was the first to be written down, that the very idea of writing a form of government into existence was new. Prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion, or restricting the free exercise thereof, are the first of the First Amendment rights.

    As Sixty Minutes examined the human impact of the Paris terrorist attacks last night, I couldn’t help but wonder how the American public would feel watching a similar interview of victims of Settler aggression, showing the human impact.

    Is it not Netanyahu’s mission to continue to escalate hostility between the Israeli and Palestinian people, as justification for greater security measures, greater expansion of settlements, greater oppression? With the effectiveness of Zionist loyalists within governments and media throughout the world, not to mention Mossad agents, his power to prosecute the escalating clash of civilizations as cover for his own mission is formidable. Can this escalation be stopped prior to Netanyahu being ousted from power in Israel?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 16, 2015, 3:37 pm

      “I understand that the US constitution was the first to be written down, that the very idea of writing a form of government into existence was new. Prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion, or restricting the free exercise thereof, are the first of the First Amendment rights.”

      Yeah, yeah, establishment this, restricting free exercise that (no wonder health clubs are so expensive!) all that.
      What I want to know is this: Was it good for the Jews, or bad for the Jews?

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        November 16, 2015, 4:29 pm

        The Paris attacks are probably like the 9/11 attacks in that regard. Of 9/11 Netanyahu said,

        “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying.

        “Who benefits?”, as the saying goes.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 16, 2015, 7:04 pm

        Obviously, very good. But not good enough for Zionism.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      November 16, 2015, 4:36 pm

      “Can this escalation be stopped prior to Netanyahu being ousted from power in Israel?”

      The corporate war profiteers behind Netanyahu must be tried and hanged for mass murder.

  2. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    November 16, 2015, 2:37 pm

    Other things that a cohen must avoid in order to remain pure are marriage to a divorced woman and contact with a corpse. Only pure cohanim will be able to serve as priests in the Temple when it is restored. For more on the subject see the Facebook page of “Cohanim International Congress”.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      November 16, 2015, 3:03 pm

      The issue is not religious laws. Catholics can debate divorce vs. annulment to their hearts’ content. The question here is the state, as the licenser of marriage, enforcing those religious laws. This is not about Judaism. This is about Israel.
      As Phil notes, Americans harp on about sharia. They shudder at the Iranian and Saudi Arabian thoecratic regimes.
      How is Israel any different?

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        November 16, 2015, 4:33 pm

        “How is Israel any different?”

        It’s not, of course. At some point this cesspool of hypocrisy is going to blow apart.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 16, 2015, 3:11 pm

      “Other things that a cohen must avoid in order to remain pure are marriage to a divorced woman and contact with a corpse. Only pure cohanim will be able to serve as priests in the Temple when it is restored.”

      Shoot, I guess my application will be turned down. Another job prospect ruined. And I was so careful to make sure my wife hadn’t been married before. I guess my previous relationships might be held against me, if anybody wants to dig them up.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        November 16, 2015, 4:41 pm

        You can always start your own religion. It would probably be an improvement.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 17, 2015, 12:42 pm

        “You can always start your own religion.”

        We’ll need music. Considering the frequent occurrence of the convenient words “who” and “you” this song is ripe for adaption into the liturgy.

      • annie
        annie
        November 17, 2015, 2:47 pm

        you’re such a nut mooser!

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 17, 2015, 6:47 pm

        Don’t forget the beard and funny headgear.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 17, 2015, 1:04 pm

      “For more on the subject see the Facebook page of “Cohanim International Congress”.

      Oh, no. I hope they don’t have a page on the practical priestly duties. Trading tips on sacrificial procedures and stuff. “For maximum ritual efficacy, I like to say this prayer just as…”
      Yup, a hereditary priesthood. Can’t imagine how impressive (like a “suit of fine clothes”) it must be to lean in confidentially and say ; “I’m a Cohanim, you know, not some common schlump. I’m a ‘five-percenter’! I’m just doing pet-sitting until the Temple re-opens for business.”

  3. Keith
    Keith
    November 16, 2015, 5:17 pm

    PHIL- “But the ruling of this so-called court illustrates how foreign Israel should be to American Jews.”

    True enough, and something which I have brought up in the past. However, with Israel being over there and American Jews being over here, Israel has taken on a certain metaphysical aura not subject to empirical scrutiny.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      November 16, 2015, 9:36 pm

      It’s more involved than that. Israel is the mirror image of the United States. It’s an “insurance policy” not against the rise of an American Hitler but against disappearing through assimilation. Israel is the solution to American Jewish anxieties. This is made explicit through the Birthright trips. Israel is financed and armed by American Jews or with American Jewish backing to be a. racist (provides clear binary Jewish/ non-Jewish identity) b. in a state of constant war (provides a crystal clear demarcation with all Arabs outside its borders and within its borders c. must be ruled by Jewish law (provides clear identity).

      American Jews need Israel to stay the way it is. They condemn it to be the opposite of their values because that serves their anxieties.

      • can of worms
        can of worms
        November 17, 2015, 12:51 am

        Elliot, +1.

        “Israel is the mirror image of the United States”; a mise-en-abyme where Israel is financed and armed to be an incubator of a desire for an impossible race-class cleanness and purity.

        A la Pynchon, Israel is the “outhouse of the … soul, where a fellow can let his pants down and relax, enjoy the smell of his own shit.”

        Redemption is had through horrific adventures of discovery in a mission to take the Promised Land by force; and at the center is the shocked fascination with their own murderous successes, moaning about ‘the horror, the horror!’

        Off-center on the map is the bantustan, which has become an inseparable part of the design’s success.

        And in the 1948-occupied heart of the terrain, the cannibal is pictured as coming to the voter’s booth in “droves”.

  4. Krauss
    Krauss
    November 16, 2015, 5:19 pm

    And yet, the Glen Weyl and other “liberals” who are far-left in domestic American politics nevertheless show up in full armor and ready to defend this theocracy.

    After all, he even admits he cares far more for them than for the people living in the land of his birth. He’s not alone.

  5. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    November 16, 2015, 10:14 pm

    The upshot of this post in the aftermath of Paris: Sure, Muslims shoot up and kill people in the streets of Paris, but don’t forget that Israel has religious courts ruling marriage.

    Another case of Phil Weiss preaching to American Jews: you should feel no kinship with the Jews living in Israel.

    The first paragraph of the post has absolutely no basis in the text of the letter that is visible. It seems to me that the context is a woman who has converted to Judaism and whose conversion is under question. That seems the most likely explanation of what this refers to. And the first paragraph is something that Phil’s friend informed him about but is not alluded to in any way in the actual visible text of the letter.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      November 17, 2015, 5:32 am

      “The upshot of this post in the aftermath of Paris: Sure, Muslims shoot up and kill people in the streets of Paris, but don’t forget that Israel has religious courts ruling marriage.”

      Really?!

      “Another case of Phil Weiss preaching to American Jews: you should feel no kinship with the Jews living in Israel.”

      When a state official in the U.S. tried to impose her religious beliefs about marriage on a couple, Amerucan Jews were outaged. Why is the same behavior kosher in Israel?

      “…the context is a woman who has converted to Judaism and whose conversion is under question.”

      That’s likely. The question still stands: why is a religious court regulating marriage under the seal of the state. And the reason for limiting her choice of partner is still true. A female convert is considered to be less pure than a man or a born Jew. In the U.S., she would file a discrimination suit.

    • talknic
      talknic
      November 17, 2015, 6:01 am

      @ yonah fredman

      “Another case of Phil Weiss preaching to American Jews: you should feel no kinship with the Jews living in Israel.”

      Strange what was actually said was “the ruling of this so-called court illustrates how foreign ISRAEL should be to American Jews.

      “It seems to me that the context is a woman who has converted to Judaism and whose conversion is under question. That seems the most likely explanation of what this refers to.”

      Not according to the ruling “the Rabbinical Court affirms the plaintiff’s RETURN to Judaism”

      • talknic
        talknic
        November 17, 2015, 6:06 am

        One really should read the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel v e r y carefully http://wp.me/pDB7k-D6

    • YoniFalic
      YoniFalic
      November 17, 2015, 6:42 am

      The racist genocidal colonialist invaders have been shooting up and killing the natives since the beginning of the 20th century at least, but we won’t worry about that because the dead are only non-European darkies.

      The woman is חוזרת בתשובה, to wit, a returnee (? — I think it’s something like a born-again Christian), who had been secular and now promises to live by the silly and repugnant rules of Orthodox Judaism.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 17, 2015, 7:32 am

      || yonah fredman: The upshot of this post in the aftermath of Paris: Sure, Muslims shoot up and kill people in the streets of Paris, but don’t forget that Israel has religious courts ruling marriage. … ||

      Are you suggesting that:
      – in the aftermath of Paris no-one should write anything about anything other than Paris;
      – in the aftermath of Paris, Israel has ceased to be an unjust and immoral state; and/or
      – the attacks in Paris justify the immorality and injustice in and of Israel?

      || … Another case of Phil Weiss preaching to American Jews: you should feel no kinship with the Jews living in Israel. … ||

      He points out that Israel should be foreign to Americans who happen to be Jewish. And he’s right: It should be. Israel is not America.

      Your habit of scoffing and distorting what is actually written betrays your hatred not only for Mr. Weiss but also for Jewish people who do not pledge loyalty to your supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine. Why are you so anti-Semitic?

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra
      November 17, 2015, 8:40 am

      It’s very interesting how skeptical some of you really are with some of the news on here, like the “Gas you to death” video. It’s not a bad thing, skepticism and critical thought are a must in my opinion, it’s just the selective application of it is what infuriates me.

      I wish you’d show this much critical thought to Israeli practices and crimes as you do to news articles here.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        November 17, 2015, 10:20 am

        @Diasp0ra – What are you going on about? and how is that relevant to this thread?

      • diasp0ra
        diasp0ra
        November 17, 2015, 11:05 am

        @Elliot

        I was addressing Yonah and his questioning of the image. Always so skeptical of everything that incriminates Israel to the point of disregarding it, like in his post above where he tries to rationalize it away. Meanwhile, this same level of critical thought is not applied to the official Israeli narrative where he keeps regurgitating propaganda points.

        I should have been more clear with who I meant, I was addressing Zionists on this website, and in general really. I didn’t realize how many replies this even had until I saw your comment, so it’s understandable that my message was a bit unclear.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 17, 2015, 11:01 am

      “Another case of Phil Weiss preaching to American Jews: you should feel no kinship with the Jews living in Israel.”

      He does, he must, or he wouldn’t be concerned about them. Why should we watch and say nothing while they commit societal suicide? There is no question what conditions are “good for the Jews” and that is a civil government in which religion is an individual’s business, no established religion for the state, no religious tests for office, civil rights for all. Why shouldn’t Israelis get some of those benefits?
      Don’t you think at least the Israeli Jews should have the same freedoms which have worked so well for us here?

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        November 17, 2015, 12:51 pm

        Diasp0ra – got it! Thanks.

  6. tony greenstein
    tony greenstein
    November 17, 2015, 12:06 pm

    You should change the headline introduction which says ‘A rabbinical court in Jerusalem allows a woman who had intercourse with a non-Jew to marry non-Jews. The power of these religious courts over private life would be unimaginable in the U.S.’ It should say ‘….. to marry Jews.’ not non-Jews.

  7. Alvin Alexsi Currier
    Alvin Alexsi Currier
    November 17, 2015, 12:25 pm

    My grandson, the son of a christian raised mother who married a Jewish man, recently had his Bar Mitzvah. He now looks forward to visiting Israel. Will he have problems because he is uncircumcised Jew?

    • annie
      annie
      November 17, 2015, 2:46 pm

      problems with what alvin? getting into the country, traveling around? joining the military? or getting married?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 17, 2015, 4:01 pm

      “He now looks forward to visiting Israel. Will he have problems because he is uncircumcised Jew? “

      He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t have an acute episode of phomosis.

    • YoniFalic
      YoniFalic
      November 17, 2015, 4:10 pm

      In Israel your grandson would not be considered Jewish by nationality or by religion. Good for him. Israel is evil, and Jewish religion is silly.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      November 17, 2015, 8:21 pm

      Not unless he gets into the pants of a Rabbinical Highest Court spy disguised as a liberated woman (or man –sorry), who sacrifices herself for the lofty common goal of rooting out camouflaged Christian infiltrators. The sacrifice is made even harder by the fact that she cannot even turn the light off.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      May 24, 2016, 1:26 pm

      “Will he have problems because he is uncircumcised Jew? “

      Not if he gets a little notebook, and doesn’t get mixed up about names or dates. He’ll need a rest when he gets home, tho.

  8. Alvin Alexsi Currier
    Alvin Alexsi Currier
    November 17, 2015, 6:14 pm

    Thanks, I sense it is as I sort of figured. As long as he’s just visiting and looking around he’s okay. Mine was, or is, only a mild curiosity about when, or at what point, or in what cases, possible and probable social pressure might yield to some sort of legal constraint?

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