Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Statement on Conversion Bill Controversy
Dear Community Members,
This past week, senior lay and professional leaders of the
Several recent news stories and e-mail briefings have been circulating about a conversion bill proposed by Member of Knesset David Rotem of the Yisrael Biteinu Party (which is part of the governing coalition in
For the first time, Israeli law would mandate that conversions performed in
As the conversion bill controversy represents a major concern for the vast majority of Diaspora Jewry, our Federation, our rabbis and our community have a major stake in this issue. Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Campaign Co-Chair Nina Paul and Financial Resource Development Director
As Danielle indicated upon her return today, “One of the values of a national organization like JFNA is that it enables Cincinnatians to join with others to directly address critical issues with the leadership of the State of Israel. We were encouraged by President Peres’s response to our concerns, and we can be proud of our community’s efforts to bring about a positive resolution to this situation.”
We have discussed this issue with our local rabbinic leadership, and Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis President Rabbi Sissy Coran, 513-891-9900, and
We will keep you updated as this issue progresses. As President Peres so eloquently states below, “We bear the responsibility for generations to come. We should handle it with care while preserving unity.”
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
PRESIDENT PERES TO JFNA: DIALOGUE ON CONVERSION MUST INCLUDE DIASPORA AND
July 13, 2010
Israeli President Shimon Peres met with leaders of The Jewish Federations of North America today about proposed changes in the Law of Return, expressing his support for greater dialogue that includes both those in
Peres met on the controversial conversion bill with JFNA's President and CEO Jerry Silverman and Senior Vice President Rebecca Caspi, as well as with 125 Jewish Federation professionals and volunteers on the Campaign Chairs & Directors Mission, which is visiting
"More than half of our people are living in the State of Israel. Almost half of it lives outside of
"A discussion that bears consequences on the entire Jewish people should include different voices – from within
"A split in Jewish life," Peres added, "will be catastrophic and totally unnecessary."
Peres went on to say: "We bear the responsibility for generations to come. We should handle it with care while preserving unity. In 1988, I could have formed a government under my leadership. The condition was my approval to revise the law of 'Who is a Jew'. I immediately rejected this offer."
Peres, commenting on published comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the proposed bill would not pass the full Knesset, said: "I noticed with appreciation the comments made by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who said that the legislative process will be postponed in order to conduct a serious and inclusive discussion. We have to find a proper solution to enable conversion in
Silverman and Caspi thanked President Peres for his remarks and echoed a letter that JFNA Chair Kathy Manning and the JFNA Coordinating Council sent the Prime Minister today, urging him to speak out publicly against the proposed bill.
"We were privileged to represent The Jewish Federations and Diaspora Jewry in our meeting with President Peres, and honored that President Peres took the opportunity to meet with our CC&D Mission as well," Silverman said.
"We thank President Peres for his critical support of the concerns of world Jewry and appreciate his visionary leadership and energy in trying to reach a resolution on this important matter."
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