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
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)
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.