Israel is caught up in an interesting controversy involving a Rabbincal Court. Rabbi Yissachar Dov Hagar, a judge on Jerusalem’s Rabbinical Court, ruled that Yossi Fackenheim, son of the famous Canadian academic and Reform Rabbi, Emil Fackenheim, is not really Jewish. The ruling came as part of a divorce decision and has caused a firestorm of controversy.
The problem according to Rabbi Hagar is that Yossi’s mother did not convert to Judaism until after Yossi’s birth. He converted at the age of two with an Orthodox Rabbinical court in Toronto.
Hagar ruled that there was no need for a Jewish divorce because the conversion was invalid because Yossi did not maintain an Orthodox lifestyle after his conversion. Hagar noted that Yossi was a Shakespearean actor and went off on a rant about non-Jews being anti-Semitic. While he finally agreed to issue a divorce decree, he insisted on adding language establishing that Yossi is not Jewish.
There is growing tension of the power of these Orthodox courts and their political parties in Israel.
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